The authorities in Sri Lanka have arrested a popular astrologer who predicted that the president will be ejected from office, police say.
Chandrasiri Bandara announced last week that the government would flounder in September and October because of political and economic problems.
The opposition have condemned the arrest and warned that the country is heading towards a dictatorship.
Astrology is taken seriously by numerous Sri Lankan politicians.
Police told the AP news agency that Mr Bandara told an opposition meeting that the prime minister would take over as president on 9 September and the opposition leader would become prime minister.
He was arrested on Wednesday night to investigate the basis of his prediction, police spokesman Ranjith Gunasekera said.
Mr Bandara made his forecast despite the president’s high approval ratings following the defeat of Tamil Tigers rebels in May, bringing an end to nearly 26 years of civil war.
“The CID (Criminal Investigations Department) is questioning the astrologer,” Mr Gunasekara said. …
“The crime which Chandrasiri Bandara committed was publishing an astrological column which was adverse to the government,” said opposition United National Party General Secretary Tissa Attanayake.
So convinced are Sri Lankan politicians over the accuracy of astrology that many have their own personal seers who decide the auspicious times to launch any new initiative.
President Rajapaksa has declared himself to be a believer, telling foreign reporters earlier this year that he has often consulted a favoured astrologer for advice on what time to make speeches or to depart for trips.
Time warp back to the Dark Ages. Intuitive advisors can be useful, but there is no magic involved, no insight to be had from the motion of the planets about human events. (Unless you count the motion of the Earth around the sun and the resulting seasons which do influence our behavior due to changes in the weather… ) Bandara and other astrologers should get credit for ideas and advice without attributing them to some Namby Pamby hocus pocus Mumbo Jumbo.