Sri Lanka mourns demise of influential monk

Colombo, Nov 8 (IANS) Sri Lanka on Sunday mourned the demise of an influential monk who played a key role in pushing for a change of government in the South Asian country.

The government declared national mourning for the venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha who passed away on Sunday while receiving treatment in Singapore, Xinhua news agency reported.

Maduluwawe Sobitha launched a campaign last year to push for a new president and government to replace then president Mahinda Rajapaksa and gathered wide support for incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena.

The monk called for constitutional changes, including reducing the powers in the hands of the president, and Sirisena agreed to the proposal and contested the January presidential election which he eventually won.

The government said the funeral of Maduluwawe Sobitha will be held with full state honours on Thursday near the country’s parliament building.

President Maithripala Sirisena said he was deeply saddened by the demise of Maduluwawe Sobitha, and added that the greatest honour Sri Lanka can give him is to make his vision for Sri Lanka a reality.

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