Bandara made his forecast despite Rajapaksa's soaring popularity in the wake of the military's defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels last month, a victory that ended this island nation's quarter-century civil war. Since then, Rajapaksa has been hailed as a king, and politicians in his ruling party have proposed giving him a second six-year term without an election or changing the constitution to make him president for life. But astrology is profoundly influential in Sri Lankan society and could be perceived as a threat to Rajapaksa's rule. Many here plan their weddings and special events based on the advice of astrologers, and political leaders use favorable predictions to boost their image.
Rajapaksa himself has said he is a devoted believer, telling foreign reporters earlier this year that he often consults a favored astrologer for advice on what time to make speeches or to depart for trips.
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Bandara, who has a weekly television show and writes a deeply political column for a pro-opposition newspaper, is one of the most popular astrologers in the country. Police officers came to Bandara's home Wednesday night to arrest him, said Chathura Vidyarathna, deputy editor of Irudina, which publishes Bandara's column.
The opposition United National Party condemned the arrest. In the wake of the government's victory over the rebels, media rights groups have complained of renewed attempts by the government to stifle freedom of speech. The government has announced the re-establishment of a powerful press council with the authority to jail journalists, and early this month, Poddala Jayantha, a press freedom campaigner, was abducted and assaulted while returning from work.
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Stars divided between Rajapaksa and Fonseka too | world | Hindustan Times
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Stars divided between Rajapaksa and Fonseka too
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Sri Lanka astrologer is arrested
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