On 28 October, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed the militant Buddhist monk Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara to head a presidential task force on legal reforms, shocking many in Sri Lanka and beyond. Gnanasara is the public face of the country’s leading anti-Muslim campaign group, Bodu Bala Sena (Army of Buddhist Power, or BBS). He is widely accused of inciting inter-communal violence
, including two deadly anti-Muslim pogroms
in June 2014 and March 2018.
On 16 November, Gotabaya Rajapaksa – who served as defence secretary during the final phase of Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war – won a decisive victory in Sri Lanka’s presidential election.