By Latheef Farook
What had happened in Digana on Sunday 4 March 2018 was a crime committed on an innocent Sinhalese lorry driver by three drunken Muslim three wheeler thugs. It is a matter for law enforcement authority to deal with culprits in keeping with the law of the land.
Instead, Muslim owned businesses in and around the area were burnt and the entire area was plunged into chaos. The government should have known that emotions were running high during a funeral and it was duty bound to prevent the racists from implementing their evil agenda on Muslims in the area.
The government’s failure to take timely precautionary measures to prevent any untoward incident against Muslim business establishments sent a clear message to racists. The presence of a BBS monk gave yet another shot in the arm for these racists. The question is what was he doing there?
This is what a Muslim from Pallekele said: “There is no way for Muslims to defend themselves. First, the STF comes and take from Muslims whatever they have, including knives, to defend themselves. Then Muslims came under attack. In one incident they entered a mosque and attacked those inside. Then they allowed racists waiting to attack Muslims. They included women with helmets’.
Some suspects that the government allowed these attacks to take place to divert the country’s attention from the political crisis it is passing through.
It has become clear that disastrous Maithri-Ranil yahapalanaya racism is no different from Rajapaksa racism. Mahinda Rajapaksa was responsible for failure to prevent the Alutgama, Beruwala and Dharga Town vilence and Maithri- Ranil Gintota, and Ampara and Digana mayhem.
No lesson learnt from the past and the country, it appears, is heading towards a disastrous future.
Earlier the senseless attack on innocent imam of Ampara mosque, mosque and Muslim owned business establishments besides burning their properties. This has now become an ongoing affair.
There has been a pernicious campaign to whip up anti-Muslim sentiment among Sinhalese over the past few years. This includes the spreading of a canard that Muslim businesses surreptitiously try to sterilize Sinhalese customers using various means. Among them is the notion that substances are embedded in brassieres and the deliberate contamination of food with ‘sterilizing substances’.
It is part of a campaign to poison innocent Sinhalese minds to discourage them from patronizing Muslim owned businesses to cripple Muslim community’s economy.
These mobs have nothing to do with Buddhism or Sinhalese culture. They are mercenaries of local and foreign anti-Muslim forces. So far they have never attacked a gambling den, liquor shop or even sex industry parlors. Their Buddhism is to attack imams, burning mosques, Muslim owned shops, restaurants, vehicles and everything they could think of. They do not understand the harm they cause to the country to which they claim sole ownership.
During the past two weeks alone there were two major incidents – at Ampara and Digana adjacent to Teldeniya.
Speculations are that these attacks were organized with the connivance of the authorities. Perhaps this is the reason why the law enforcement authorities were reluctant to bring the culprits to justice. Racist mercenaries who attacked Beruwala, Dharga Town and Alutgama during defeated Rajapaksa regime remain free to date.
During Gintota attacks too people accused the police of facilitating the vandalism.
One important aspect of these attacks was the involvement of outsiders. Be it in Beruwala, Dharga town, Alutgama, Gintota, Amapara and even Digana all those involved were outsiders brought in buses, vans and three wheelers and motor bikes.
The question is who are these outsiders? Who is financing, organizing and dispatching them to destroy the country?
In Ampara, too, police were informed at 10.05 PM of trouble brewing but they arrived at the scene at 11.30 PM although they could have come within 15 minutes. Even after arriving at the scene they were not stopping or arresting the culprits who were allowed to continue their attacks
Instead of taking the mob into custody they remanded the cashier of the hotel who was attacked by the mob for two days. But the two suspects who were taken to custody were released on Friday 2 March 2018.
Minister Rajitha Seneratne said a person close to the former government had been behind these attacks in Ampara. It has become clear that this person has visited the area two days before the incident and established ties with the police. He said moves are underway for an impartial probe on efforts made by police to cover up the incident.
Neither President Sirisena nor Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe thought it fit to make a statement. Instead of visiting Amapara Mr. Wickremasinghe, law and order minister, left on Friday to Singapore to address a conference.
Only after Muslim ministers made representation Mr. Wickremesinghe assured that investigations would be conducted into the attacks on Ampara and the decision of the police to release culprits on bail. Muslim ministers delegation pointed out that police had been party to these attacks and the community was losing confidence in the police.
Perhaps, President Sirisena did not want to upset the Sinhala voters. There is a general feeling that President Sirisena has abandoned the Muslim community.
The irony is that this happens at a time when the country is passing through its worst ever political, economic and social crisis and ethnic tension which has all the ingredients to tear apart the country. Here are two comments on the Facebook;
Saleem Marsoof- Some evidence has surfaced of propaganda material such as this used to create suspicion and hatred against Muslims in contemporary Sri Lanka. No one with basic intelligence will believe these things, but the Ampara incidents show that there are people willing to act on these obviously false ideas and attack Muslim businesses, livelihoods, shops and homes. Who is behind these disruptive campaigns? Though resisted by a sizable proportion of Sinhalese people who even took steps to catch a few Ampara attackers, the question is: Will they deal effectively with the culprits who disrupt Communal harmony and national unity to eradicate these measures of racial hatred?
Mohamed Zanhar Its excusable even if the police comes late but what is not excusable is the police presenting it as a case of a fight between two parties and bailing out the accused. On the other hand, all what happened was within a business premises between a consumer and supplier. Then why the mosque should be attacked and why should those who attacked mosque be bailed out. The mosque did not fight with anyone to call it a fight between two parties?
Such canards have been circulated in social media for quite some time and have generated a fear psychosis among the Sinhalese. It is clearly a dangerous tendency and one which seriously threatens the conditions for peaceful coexistence among communities
It was racist politics of the United National Party and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party which led to the armed uprising of Tamils which caused immense hardships to all alike, besides death and destruction.
While armed forces were fighting and losing their lives and limbs, politicians and their side kicks in the predominantly UNP-SLFP governments flourished on commissions in weapons purchase.
Under the circumstance the country cannot afford another communal carnage the consequences of which will be unpredictable especially in the context of the ongoing global war against Islam and Muslims unleashed by United States, Israel, Britain, France and Russia backed by their stooges-Arab tyrants. These very same anti-Muslims forces which destroyed many Muslim countries are here. Certainly they would use racist mercenaries to do their dirty job on the island’s Muslims.
However, there is a silver line that unlike in the past this time many sections of the Sinhala civil society were quick to distance themselves from these racist attacks in Ampara. Some openly criticized while others rejected the allegations as mere myth to justify their crime.
These civil society groups are the need of the hour to save the country. There is a growing feeling among many civil society organizations from all three major communities for such a third force to clean up the corrupt, criminals and communalized political environment.
Meanwhile, it is also time for the Muslim community to come out of their self-imposed isolation and join hands with constructive forces in the other communities to play their own role in the national affairs to ensure community welfare.
Muslim politics is bankrupt. Muslim politicians, by and large, are sell outs. They are only worried about positions, perks and amassing wealth. To ensure this they are willing to kiss the feet of any one and sell the community’s interest.
Half-baked and unbaked mullas and muftis who hold the gullible community within their grip refuse to come out of their medieval mindset to use at least Friday Juma sermons to educate the Muslims of the political, economic, social and cultural environment in which we live and what we should do to ensure the rights and dignity of the community.