Ruwan Laknath Jayakody
The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) yesterday blamed the police for Sunday’s violent upheaval in Aluthgama and said the immature behaviour and delayed action of police officers had aggravated the clashes.
“Do not make us have to tell the people to boycott Muslim businesses,” General Secretary of the BBS, Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera, warned, deeming the present state of affairs both grave and pathetic.
Insisting on the presence of Muslim, Catholic and Buddhist extremists in society, he called upon the Muslims to acknowledge the gravity of Muslim extremism and take steps to root out such extremism.
Commenting on Sunday’s violence, Gnanasara Thera said rumours about a monk dying and others being cut and slashed with swords in Aluthgama and Beruwala were exaggerations, but admitted that two monks were receiving treatment at the Nagoda Hospital for minor injuries, while 40 others, who were injured were in two hospitals and five had been transferred to Colombo.
According to the BBS, two monks have been reported missing and several shops had been torched by arsonists or damaged by the mobs.
Sunday’s violence was a fall out of events on Poson Poya Day (12), when the vehicle used by a Buddhist monk on his way to Dharga Town to conduct a religious programme was allegedly stopped by three Muslim youths who had said horns cannot be tooted in the area. The incident, which according to the BBS was orchestrated by the extremist Muslim youths, had then degenerated to the point where the monk had allegedly been assaulted.
The monk in question, Ven. Ayagama Samitha Thera, of the Kurunduwatta Sri Wijayaramaya and the Chief Incumbent of that temple, had then complained about the matter to the police.
The BBS had on Sunday (15) conducted a discussion about the matter with about 50 divisional monks, including Ven. Hadigalle Wimaladharma Thera, and President of Sihala Ravaya, Ven. Akmeemana Dayarathana Thera, at the Aluthgama Buddhasiri Viharaya.
The discussion had concluded by 4.30 p.m. and they had then proceeded in a motorcade to drop Ven. Ayagama Samitha Thera at the Kurunduwatta Sri Wijayaramaya.
“Within half an hour we received reports that stones had been thrown from inside the Dharga Town main mosque at the two cars in front of the motorcade. It was such an inflammatory and provocative act, when combined with the assault of the monk, and triggered the whole situation,” Gnanasara Thera said, adding that elsewhere, a child had been taken out of a bus forcibly and assaulted.
This, he said, was very organized as people from Akurana and Kattankudi had also been present. “No one owns an area in this country.”