President Mahinda Rajapaksa has promised an investigation into the violence in Aluthgama and Beruwala since Sunday night and pledged compensation for those who have suffered property losses by the rioting.
Last afternoon upon his return from Bolivia, President Rajapaksa flew into Beruwala town, which has been rocked by religious clashes, for discussions with Buddhist and Muslim clergy and leaders.
“No one can be allowed to cause damage to another person or his property. I will let the law take its course and they will submit a report to me quickly,” he told Buddhist monks and Muslim religious leaders at the Divisional Secretariat in Beruwala yesterday.
He urged Muslims still taking shelter in schools and mosques to return to their homes.
“I will provide security to the villages. Tell them to go back to their homes, I will take responsibility,” President Rajapaksa assured.
The President said he had travelled to Beruwala as soon as he returned to the country.
“I understand the problem now,” he said, following discussions with community leaders.
He instructed officials to make arrangements for people whose houses had been completely damaged in the violence, with compensation and repairs.
Military officials who were also at the meeting yesterday pledged to attend to the issues of shelter and relocation for displaced persons.
President Rajapaksa, who landed in Beruwala by helicopter yesterday, was accompanied by Ministers Mervyn Silva and Rohitha Abeygunawardena and Army Chief Lt. Gen. Daya Ratnayake.
Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the Ministry of Law and Order Retd. Major General Nanda Mallawarachchi and IGP N.K. Ilangakoon were also part of the discussions.
World Islamic body calls for end to attacks against Muslims in Sri Lanka
Marking an epoch in Sri Lanka’s relations with the Islamic world, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has criticised violence instigated extremists south of the island and urged the authorities to enforce the rule of law in the wake of religious riots targeting the Muslim community since Sunday.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, the Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen Madani has expressed serious concern at the recent incidents of violence by extremist individuals against Muslims in the towns of Aluthgama, Beruwala and Dharga Town in Sri Lanka.
“The reports of several fatalities and dozens injured as well as attacks on homes, businesses and mosques are deeply regrettable,” the OIC Secretary General said in a statement.
He noted that the Muslim community in Sri Lanka has a longstanding presence in the country and a tradition of living in peace and harmony with their compatriots.
“The recent attacks appear to follow a rising trend of violence instigated by extremists which is spreading fear and mistrust among the population,” Madani said.
While appealing for calm and peaceful relations between the communities, the Secretary General urged the authorities to enforce the rule of law, investigate the incidents and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“The Secretary General expressed the hope that every possible effort would be exerted by the Sri Lankan authorities to prevent further escalation of violence,” the statement added.
The OIC, a bloc of Islamic nations have strongly supported Sri Lanka at international forums including the UN Human Rights Council. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has always been held in great esteem by Islamic nations of the world for his positions on the Palestinian question.
The Secretary General’s statement on religious violence is possibly the first-ever critical communiqué the organisation has issued on Sri Lanka.