Weligama in Matara District of the Southern Province has become the latest venue of anti –Muslim activity in Sri Lanka.Weligama meaning “Sandy Village”in Sinhala is situated 144 Km from and is a well-known tourist destination in the Island.Although Sinhalese are the preponderant majority in the area the population of Weligama is diverse with Muslims,Tamils,Burghers and Malays living in amity there.
The controversial Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS)organization that has been conducting an on-going campaign against the Sri Lankan Muslims has now entered Weligama and is staging a public rally at 2.00 pm on April 3rd near the Pradeshiya Sabha office.
The walls in Weligama and its environs are plastered with red and white posters announcing the BBS rally. Meetings conducted by the Bodhu Bala Sena in different parts of the country have seen much hatred and venom against Muslims being expressed on such occasions.
In a bid to avert unnecessary friction Islamic theologians attached to the local Mosques have advised Muslims to avoid the Pradeshiya Sabha office area as far as possible when the BBS rally is held.
Apart from anxiety over the BBS rally what has upset Muslims more in Weligama is the widespread distribution of a leaflet in Sinhala targeting the community.
The leaflet appeals to the Sinhala people not to purchase any products or items from Muslim owned businesses in the area.
The leaflet specifically mentions the names of certain businesses run by Muslims and exhorts the people not to patronise these establishments.
The leaflet then gives out a list of Businesses run by Sinhalese and requests people to buy from these stores.
What the leaflet does is to discourage people from buying products at Muslim businesses and encourage purchasing from Sinhala businesses by showing that the same item could be bought from a Sinhala owned business and not only from a Muslim owned business.
It also does the same regarding Muslim run restaurants and Sinhala run restaurants.
Furthermore the leaflet also calls upon Sinhalese not to work in Muslim owned business establishments.
It accuses Muslims of appropriating through their commercial establishments the hard earned money of the Sinhalese and then use it to destroy Buddhist places of worship and construct Mosques in their places.
It is suspected that some Sinhala businessmen from Weligama are linked to the Bodhu Bala Sena and are trying to use the BBS to whip up a campaign against competing Muslim businessmen of the area.
In a separate development the Bodhu Bala Sena is once again targeting a Muslim “Madrassah” in Anuradhapura. The BBS has re-commenced a campaign demanding that the Islamic religious school situated at Dixon lane in Malwatu Oya should stop functioning.It warns that if it does not cease functioning steps would be taken to eradicate the school from the area.
DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org