Sri Lankan Government: Take Urgent Action to Stop Attacks on Muslims …. go to https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bxbk4wYolphwOTRPUU40bUtDZnc/edit … and Sign if in agreement
We the undersigned citizens of Sri Lanka strongly condemn the Bodu Bala Sena’s (BBS) highly inflammatory hate speech against and brazen physical attacks on the Muslim community in Aluthgama, Beruwala, Welipenna and Dharga-Town in June 2014. We believe that the violence is directly linked to recent statements by the BBS targeting Muslims. We call upon the authorities to immediately conduct independent investigations into the incidents, and hold to account perpetrators and those complicit in such acts.
We believe inflammatory statements by the General Secretary of the BBS, Galagodathera Gnanasara, clearly demonstrates his pivotal role and responsibility for the violence. We therefore call upon the authorities to take immediate steps to arrest and charge him for the deaths and destruction in the area.
At the time of issuing this statement, reliable sources who have access to the area during the last few days confirm the devastation and destruction in the region, including the killing of at least three people. There are unconfirmed reports that this figure may be as high as seven, with injuries to around 80 people. In addition, mosques have been stoned and vandalised and many Muslim-owned houses and businesses attacked or destroyed.
Despite curfew being imposed in the area, riots continued with the inability or unwillingness of the security forces to control the mobs. Many innocent men, women and children continue to live in fear of further attacks. We are extremely disturbed that the violence in these areas has yet to fully subside, despite the presence of security force personnel. Reports continue to surface of the presence of mobs in the area inciting violence and attacking Muslims and their property. There continue to be reports of incidents of violence from other areas including Dehiwela (June 15) and Welipenna (June 16).
In such a disturbing context, we call on the Government of Sri Lanka to take immediate and effective action and ensure that the perpetrators of this shameless violence are held to account. The government has an obligation to protect all citizens of Sri Lanka, and it badly needs to demonstrate this. Given the brazen attacks on the Muslim community, the government must deploy additional police and other law enforcement authorities and ensure that they take preventive and responsive action to ensure the safety of people. We are aware of only three arrests related to this incident, so far. In the meantime, BBS General Secretary Galagodaaththe Gnanasara is reported to be free to roam about and free to incite further hatred and violence.
There are basic protections provided in the Constitution and the legal framework for the safety and security of all citizens. The President, who is also the Minister of Defence, and his brother, the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, must ensure that law and order is maintained and reassure the citizens of Sri Lanka that appropriate action is being taken to prevent any further violence.
We have in recent times seen the use of specific laws such as the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to arrest and detain civil society and media personnel in the name of national security. We have also witnessed the law being used to stop peaceful protests elsewhere in the country. And yet, the police permitted the BBS rally to take place despite the pleas of a number of actors, including politicians within government, that it would exacerbate tensions. Given the precedents under the guise of national security, we are bewildered as to why the law was not applied in this case. There is a clear need for an impartial inquiry into the causes for the violence, to identify perpetrators of the attacks and the role played by the police and armed forces. It is also paramount that the State compensates those who suffered the loss of family members, and destruction of, and damage to property.
More than five years after the end of the war, it is imperative that we explore avenues for coexistence and come together to build a society that cherishes and celebrates its inherent pluralism. Thirty years after the carnage of Black July 1983 it is a tragic reminder of how little we as citizenry have learned from the past. The recent attacks on Muslim places of worship and businesses are part of a wider trend of violent attacks against Muslims and other religious and ethnic minorities, including the Christian community.
We urge the authorities to take specific steps to build the confidence of the Muslim community as equal citizens of Sri Lanka. Most urgently, in addition to deploying adequate security forces in areas where minorities are under threat from further violence, unimpeded access should be granted to food and relief convoys as well as to independent actors and the media to report without hindrance or harm on the situation. The authorities should also take this opportunity to apologise for failing the prevent violence.
Finally, this statement expresses solidarity with our fellow citizens, the victims and survivors of the villages of Aluthgama, Beruwala, Dharga Town, Walpitiya and Welipenna. Much needs to be done to address the recent violence and we believe much can be achieved if the Government acts swiftly and decisively to fulfil its fundamental responsibility for protecting all citizens of Sri Lanka.
ALSO SEE — Latheef Farook : “Aluthgama Riots: Meticulously Planned And Executed To Military Precision” ………. http://5.hidemyass.com/ip-1/encoded/czovL3d3dy5jb2xvbWJvdGVsZWdyYXBoLmNvbS9pbmRleC5waHAvYWx1dGhnYW1hLXJpb3RzLW1ldGljdWxvdX NseS1wbGFubmVkLWFuZC1leGVjdXRlZC10by1taWxpdGFyeS1wcmVjaXNpb24vY29tbWVudC1wYWdlLTIv
AND Al-Jazeera: “Who is behind Sri Lanka’s Religious Violence?’ 17 June 2014, http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2014/06/who-behind-sri-lanka-religious-violence-2014617174319873584.html
AND “For All Sri Lankans: A Message of Tolerance and Conflict Resolution from Ven Galkande Dhammananda” 14 April 2013, http://thuppahis.com/2013/04/14/for-all-sri-lankansa-message-of-tolerance-and-conflict-resolution-from-ven-galkande-dhammananda/
AND VIDEO: Sri Lanka does not belong only to Buddhists – Vajira Thero, June 17, 2014 05:01 pm