Reports from Sri Lanka state that a Muslim Owned Textile store in the Central Province town of Gampola has been attacked in broad daylight on Tuesday April 16th 2013.
A gang of hoodlums numbering about a dozen launched an attack against the “Lucky Emporium”textile store situated on Ambagamuwa road in Gampola in the Kandy district in the afternoon of April 16th.
Details of the attack remain scanty at this point of time but apparently the glass panes of the shop as well as showcases had been shattered leaving a debris of broken glass fragments inside and outside the premises.
The extent of damage done or injuries inflicted on persons remains unavailable at this point of time.
“Lucky Emporium”is a popular business establishment in Gampola owned and managed by Sri Lankan Muslim entrepreneurs.
The attack comes in the wake of an on going campaign against Muslim owned business establishments by ethno religious fascist organizations claiming to represent the Sinhala Buddhist majority in Sri Lanka.
However a prominent Muslim Government politician from the area has stated that the attack was not political in nature and that it was due to personal and not political reasons.
Kandy district Parliamentarian and Deputy minister of Environment and Renewable Energy ARM Abdul Cader has reportedly told a Muslim website that the cause of the attack was personal rivalry and not part of any political campaign
Abdul Cader popularly known as “Cader Hadjiar” told the “Jaffna Muslim”website that another Muslim person from the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance(UPFA) was responsible for the attack and that it was 100% due to personal reasons.
He stated that if the person concerned had not been from the UPFA he (Abdul Cader)himself would have taken to the streets on this issue.
Cader Hadjiar has also requested the website not to make a big thing out of a small matter.
Although the exact details concerning the incident are not known it is somewhat disturbing to hear a prominent Muslim Political leader saying that nothing should be done because it was a personal issue. Despite being an elected MP and Deputy minister Cader Hadjiar seems oblivious to the fact that violence unleashed for whatever reason is an offence under the law.A responsible leader would have urged Police action on the matter instead of asking the media to downplay the incident.
It is also troubling to note that deputy minister Abdul Cader seems to imply in his comment to the website that simply because the alleged culprit was a Muslim belonging to the UPFA nothing should be done. It is as if a member of the UPFA has impunity to break the law whereas if a non – UPFA member had broken the law people should take to the street.
76 Year old Abdul Cader was elected on the United National Party(UNP) ticket to Parliament in 2010 and later crossed over to the Govt.
He has in recent times been downplaying the attacks on Mosques, Muslim owned establishments and Muslims in what was perceived as a blatant attempt to curry favour with the ruling regime
Cader Hadjiar aroused much anger when he stooped to the extent of declaring publicly that no Mosque had been attacked in Sri Lanka which was a statement totally contrary to the prevailing situation.
Against this backdrop it remains to be seen as to whether the statements made by Abdul Cader on the Lucky Emporium attack are correct or not.
It is also unclear as to what action has been taken or not taken by the Police so far regarding the incident. Since the kingpin behind the attack belongs to the Govt it appears that there is little hope of Police enforcing the law in Gampola.
Sri Lankan mainstream media are yet to report about the incident.
Information According to residents of Gampola states the incident was of a personal and not political nature although the Muslim person who instigated the attack on the Muslim owned “Lucky Stores” had links to the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance(UPFA) Aparently the person concerned had bought some Items from the Stores the previous day. He had then returned on the following day saying he wanted to return what he bought and take back the money he paid.
The owner of the shop was away on a trip at that time. The shop assistants on duty had refused to take back the goods saying they had no authority to do so. An argument had followed. The person had left uttering threats. He had returned after a short time with a gang of thugs and attacked the shop shattering glass panes and showcases.The Shp that was shut down for two days is now open for business again………DBSJ
DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org