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Sections of Buddhist Clergy and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna to Fight for Rights of Muslims Besieged by Buddhist Extremists

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by

Latheef Farook

Abandoned by the government, Muslim politicians and threatened by Sinhala extremists who are law unto themselves Buddhist monks leading the campaign to solve Muslim squatters’ housing problem at Wilpattu, Janatha Vimukthi Permanuna, JVP, fighting for the rights of the Muslims and the Muslims carrying the coffin of a Buddhist monk at a funeral procession provide glimmer of hope for the country torn apart by a few hundreds of Sinhala extremists.

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I suspect these extremists as mercenaries of local and foreign forces with their own agenda against the island’s Muslims as part of the Zionist sponsored ongoing US led European global campaign against Islam and Muslims.

It was under such circumstance that a group of Buddhist monks and JVP have come forward to fight for the rights of Muslims and save the country from a potentially dangerous threat.

It was often said that a picture speaks one thousand words. However photo of Muslims carrying the coffin of a Buddhist monk, published in the Thursday 7 April 2014 issue of Muslim Tamil weekly “VIDIVELLI”, speaks million words. It reflects the centuries old harmony and understanding between the two communities.

It was the picture of Muslims in the Mawanella area carrying in their shoulders the coffin of the chief prelate of Hemmathagama Kappurukka Buddhist Vihare Ven Ranthila Ratnajothio Thero. The funeral procession led by two Buddhist monks was attended by large number of Muslims and Buddhist alike participates.

This is the symbol of harmony and understanding between Sinhala Muslim unity which prevailed in the country for more than one thousand years, but now being destroyed by few hundreds of Sinhala extremists whose words and deeds violate the very teachings of Lord Buddha which they claim to protect.

On Monday 7 April 2014, a Ceylon Today stated that the, JVP, has come forward to fight for the rights of Muslims.

The report filed by Gihan Nicholas had this to state; Coming down hard on an alleged illegal construction taking place in a Muslim burial ground at Maligawatta, the JVP said it remains committed to protect the rights of Sri Lanka’s Muslim community.

JVP Western Provincial Councilor, K.D. Lal Kantha alleged that the illegal construction, in the Muslim burial ground at Maligawatta, is taking place with the consent of the Ministry of Defense and Urban Development. “Since of late, a trend has been witnessed in Sri Lanka where the Muslim Community is being subjected to marginalization.The latest incident is amongst the spate of recent occurrences. A businessman has commenced constructing a building within the premises of the Maligawatta Muslim Burial Ground. Lalkantha said the businessman had disregarded an order by the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) to halt the construction.

That individual was backed by the Ministry of Defense and Urban Development, he alleged. He said the JVP is planning to take legal action and will lodge a complaint with the Human Rights Commission (HRC). Area residents of Maligawatta have recently organized several protests denouncing the illegal construction activities taking place at the Muslim burial grounds in Maligawatta.

On the same day, 7 April 2014, under the headline Buddhist monks in firsthand tour of Wilpattu squatters highlighted the role played by Buddhist monks to help Muslim squatters solve their housing problem. Following their visit Mannar Government Agent promised relief for Wilpattu squatters and seven Buddhist monks say will help squatters to obtain a solution.

At a meeting mediated by Rishad Bathiudeen Vanni MP and Minister of Industry and Commerce at noon yesterday (6), with 100 members of squatter families, and in the presence of a delegation of seven Buddhist monks led by Watareka Wijitha Thera (Secretary, Jathika Bala Sena and Member, Mahiyangana Pradeshiya Sabha), the GA promised to take some action on the issue in the next two weeks.

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About 70 displaced families, squatting at this location, said that the very location was their original place of residence before they were evicted by the LTTE in 1990.The squatters said “From this very location 150 families were chased out in 1990. We temporarily settled in Puttalam but recently, after 24 years of living there, we were deregistered in Puttalam and now we can’t even enroll our children in Puttalam schools. We are not having any rights in Puttalam and we are re-displaced. Therefore we came to this Marichchikattu which is our original and traditional place of residence only to find our lands were declared as some form of a “reserved forest area” which clearly is not the case”.

Addressing the squatters, Watareka Wijitha Thera said: “We now see your situation clearly. We assure our support towards necessary steps to help resolve your issue”. The Venerable Monks also visited two thatched houses of the refugees to witness their plight first-hand and sympathized with them.

Minister Bathiudeen thanked the monks for visiting to witness the plight of refugees firsthand. “These IDPs are grateful for your interest. They understand the supportive and courteous nature of Buddhists of Sri Lanka” Minister Bathiudeen said.

A tense scenario ensued during the meeting between Minister Bathiudeen and the squatters which took place in the aftermath of venerable Buddhist monks after the team of monks left the scene. Squatters accused Minister Bathiudeen of inaction to their plight and pushing him between a rock and a hard place. “You are our representative and well known as a Minister. But look where our families are today. We look for your commitment. If this issue continues, we will go ahead and commit suicide. We have no other choice at all” shouted Uthuma Haniffa, a head of a squatter household ( of seven member family).

“Just look at these children without even a toilet. Don’t you people in the government have no children?” asked an emotionally charged Uthuma.

The irony is that this happens at a time when Muslim politicians and the so called prominent Muslims who consider kissing the feet of the power that is more important than raising burning issues of their suffering community members.

This is the sad plight of the Muslim community which was not only abandoned by the government and its own so called political leaders who have, many believe, sold their souls for positions and perks while the being threatened by the Sinhala extremists. COURTESY: www.latheeffarook.com

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