President Mahinda Rajapaksa has asked the Sri Lankan media to refrain from giving publicity to the anti-Muslim activities of Extremist Sinhala Buddhist organizations. The President made this request when he met the editors of Sri Lankan newspapers and heads of TV and Radio stations for breakfast at “Temple Trees” on Friday June 21st 2013.
President Rajapaksa’s request was made when he was mingling with media heads and editors in an informal manner after the formal breakfast meeting was concluded.
The President disclosed that a suspect allegedly responsible for setting fire to a Beef stall owned by a Muslim in the Southern town of Tangalle had been arrested,produced in court and remanded.
The arson incident occurred on June 18th during the course of a protest march from Kataragama/Kathirkaamam to Colombo conducted by the “Sinhala Ravaya”(sound or roar of Sinhala)against slaughter of cattle and sale of beef. No arrests were made immediately although the arson took place in full view of a Police contingent headed by an Inspector of Police.
President Rajapaksa told media heads that the number of participants in the Sinhala Ravaya protest march had dwindled drastically after the arrest was made. He said that the Govt would not tolerate violence against Muslims and had provided enhanced security for Muslim businesses along the route taken by the Sinhala Ravaya.
The Sri Lankan head of state predicted that the protest march would peter out gradually as few would join it when they realise that the Govt will take action against miscreants.
President Rajapaksa also said that the elements targeting Muslim establishments were likely to encounter resistance in the days to come
He stated that these organizations were depending on media publicity to promote their cause and requested the media not to provide any publicity to the anti-Muslim activities or statements and speeches of these organizations.
“if they dont get publicity they will just fade away”he said.
Three ethno religious fascist organizations namely the Bodhu Bala Sena,Sinhala Ravaya and Ravana Balaya are spearheading a hate campaign against Sri Lankan muslims and Christians in the name of Sinhala Buddhism with tacit support from the political party the Jathika Hela Urumaya.
The Sinhala Ravaya led by Venerable Akmeemana Dayaratne Thero began a protest march to Colombo demanding that the slaughter of cattle be banned in Sri Lanka.Dayaratne Thero is a former Parliamentarian of the Jathika Hela Urumaya who was allegedly involved in the illegal sale of the vehicle permit allocated to him as an MP for 6.5 million rupees.
The Sinhala Ravaya commenced its protest march from Kataragam Kirivehera in Hambantota district to Colombo on June 15th 2013. It is being led by Venerable Magalkanda Suddhatha Thero . At commencement over a hundred participants including members of the Buddhist clergy and laity went in procession from Kathirkaamam/Kataragama.Later the numbers dwindled and fluctuated.
A campaign soliciting signatures for a petition calling for a ban on cattle slaughter and sale of beef is also being conducted by the organization. The petition would be handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa in person at “Temple Trees”.
DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at ~ firstname.lastname@example.org