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Commendable Court Order Curtails Anti-Muslim Activities of the Bodhu Bala Sena in Badulla.


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Pre- emptive action by the Police and Courts in Badulla has prevented the Bodhu Bala Sena and Sihala Ravaya from instigating anti-Muslim violence in the salubrious capital of Uva province as in the case of Aluthgama in the Western province .

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BBS in Badulla in May 2014-pic via twitter.com/Camp4justice

Plans by the ethno religious fascist Bodhu Bala Send Sihala Ravaya to conduct a rally in Badulla on Wednesday June 18th 2014 and foment violence against Muslim people was foiled by the pre-emptive action of the Badulla Police.

The Police went before courts and sought an order preventing the Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS) rally being held as it was part of a conspiracy to engineer anti-Muslim violence under the guise of a “spontaneous ethnic riot”.

After examining the merits of the case Badulla magistrate Mahesha Priyadarshani issued an order forbidding the BBS from proceeding with its intention of staging a rally in Badulla.

Furthermore in an associated development the magistrate has in the court order imposed restrictions on the activities of the Bodhu Bala Sena in Badulla.Among the strictures are

The BBS chief organizer of Badulla WTS Dayasiri is forbidden to organize or participate in demonstrations, processions or rallies in Badulla until further notice.He will be held liable for any act of omission or commission by the BBS in violation of the court order.The BBS has been ordered to desist from any activity that would affect ethnic amity and peace in Badulla.

The court order was requested by Assistant superintendent of Police Jayantha Pushpakumara and Headquarters Inspector Tyronne Ratnayake.The Police were supported by three lawyers –Lakshan Dias, Kashyapa Perera, Sujeeva Jayasinha- appearing on behalf of a citizens organization formed by Muslim residents of Badulla.

MUSLIM STORE

The BBS that has a notorious reputation for instigating violence against Muslim owned business establishments was suspected of utilising the rally to whip up emotions against a particular Muslim store named “Mashas”in Badulla and then unleash well planned and well coordinated violence against Muslims in Badulla.

The BBS plot was for the rally to condemn the arrest of some BBS supporters in custody on charges of invading a Muslim owned apparel store ,damaging property and assaulting Muslim employees .The chief suspect a fishmonger named Mathuranga who is a well-known supporter of the BBS in Badulla is evading arrest..

The entire exercise has overtones of a diabolical conspiracy a la Bodhu Bala Sena!

The background to the banned Bodhu Bala Sena rally in Badulla is worthy of being related in order to comprehend the evil intentions and designs of the ethno religious fascist Bodhu Bala Sena.The following version was gleaned from sources in Badulla.

Last week on Wednesday June 11th two young women both of them Sinhalese had gone to an apparel store on Bazaar street named “Mashas” at about 6.00 pm.It was owned by a Muslim businessman named Mohammed Razik known popularly as “Babu”.The store had several Muslim employees.

DENIM PANTS

The girls who appeared to be sisters had wanted to buy a pair of denim pants.Two Muslim salesmen had shown them a number of Denim pants. After perusing several pairs the girls had selected two pairs and wanted ty try them on and see whether they fitted. The salesmen had shown them the fitting room and both girls went in for a ‘fit on”.

The salesmen returned to their positions and began folding the denims taken out to be shown to the girls.Suddenly the one of the girls came out of the fitting room shouting in Sinhala to one of the two salesmen“Why did you photograph us while we were changing”?The other girl also followed suit and echoed the accusation.

The salesman concerned denied the charge and asked “why should I photograph you”? he asked in return.The other salesman then intervened by taking the phone of his colleague and giving it along with his own to the complaining women.”If we have taken photos they should be here.Why don’t you see for yourselves whether there are pictures and show us? He asked.

The girls took the two phones and looked. They returned them saying “it was not with these phones that the photographs were taken. You placed a camera on top of a cloth bundle and took our pictures when we were changing dresses.”they accused. The salesmen then countered “ come and show us where the camera was”.

The two women then changed their story and said “you all were not photographing but peeping at us when we were undressing in the ‘fit on’room”.The irritated salesmen then said in Sinhala“Why are you both lying? How many different stories are you telling”?. The young women got angry at this response and left the shop shouting “wait and see what will happen”.

MATHURANGA

The time was around 7.30 pm on the same day when the two girls returned to “Mashas” with a group of people numbering about fifteen.. The group was led by a fishmonger in Badulla called Mathuranga who was a well –known activist of the Bodhu Bala Sena. Mathuranga had a club in his hands. Some other men in the group also had poles and sticks.Many of them were known supporters of the BBS like Mathuranga.

The proprietor Mohammed Razik was not in the shop at that time.One elderly man in the group who seemed to be the father or uncle of the girls came up to the salesmen and said “These children say you all photographed them with a hidden camera”.The salesmen were trying to explain what had happened to the elderly man when the two girls shouted out “This is the fellow.This is the fellow.” And pointed to one of the two salesmen who had interacted with them earlier.

At this point some of the men who had accompanied the girls moved up to the salesmen. Mathuranga their leader started hitting the salesman in question. When others in the shop tried to stop it the other armed men began assaulting them. The gang also smashed showcases and shelves. They also threw clothes around.The shop employees started shouting out that they were being attacked.

Hearing the ruckus several other businessmen and passers by started gathering. Seeing a crowd collecting, Mathuranga and his marauders left the place with the girls in tow saying “we are going to the Police”. The proprietor Razik who had been elsewhere was informed of the incident. He rushed to the shop and found the premises damaged and in disarray.

CCTV CAMERAS

Mohammed Razik then went to the Police station along with his salesmen to lodge a complaint.When he went to the station he found the two girls and Mathuranga there. The girls had just lodged a complaint that they had been photographed by a salesman while they were trying out new clothes in the shop.The girls told the officer in charge that this man was the culprit and pointed to one of the salesmen. Apparently the complaint was against one person only.There was also an allegation that CCTV cameras hidden in the fitting room by Muslims filmed Sinhala girls while changing clothes.

The Police officer in charge then took the salesman into custody and locked him up in a cell.The girls and others were asked to leave the station. Now it was the turn of the proprietor to lodge his complaint. While this was done the locked up salesman started vomiting as he had been severely thrashed by Mathuranga and his accomplices.The Police then made arrangements for the injured salesman to get medical treatment under Police supervision.

Meanwhile the Police seized the CCTV cameras in the shop and also recorded statements from employees and eye-witnesses.It was also found that CCTV cameras could not be fixed in the fit on room as alleged.When footage from the CCTV cameras were examined, it was found that there was no substantive basis for the allegation that the salesman had photographed the girls clandestinely.On the other hand there was adequate visual evidence of Mathuranga and gang assaulting employees and damaging the shop.

The Police then did their duty without fear or favour. Eight persons identified from CCTV footage were taken into custody and produced in courts on Monday June 16th. They were all remanded. Mathuranga and two others are evading arrest.On Tuesday June 17th the Bodhu Bala Sena organized a demonstration in Badulla protesting the arrests of the BBS supporters and activists. They demanded their immediate release.

DEMONSTRATION

The BBS demonstration of June 17th in Badulla came in the wake of the Bodhu Bala Sena instigated violence in Aluthgama and Beruwela on June 15th.The BBS spread the story that Muslim owned textile shops were clandestinely filming Sinhala women in the nude when they were innocently trying out new clothes in the fitting room.

Two Muslim owned shops in Badulla were attacked by BBS demonstrators on the 17th. Prompt action by the Police prevented escalation of violence. There was also no support from the people of Badulla for the BBS demonstration.

Enraged at this lack of support the BBS revised its tactics. A fresh rally was planned for June 18th. The Sihala Ravaya organization was also associated in conducting the rally.Some of the BBS top guns were to address the rally.

It is suspected that preparations were on to launch a coordinated attack on Muslim owned establishments and Muslim residences in Badulla as in the case of Aluthgama.Emotions were to be aroused that Sinhala women were being secretly photographed by Muslim businessmen. Thereafter the false accusation would be depicted as the cause for the “spontaneous” attack on Muslims.

It was against this backdrop that the Badulla Police went to courts seeking an order banning the Bodhu Bala Sena demonstration. The Badulla magistrate Maheshi Priyadharshini examined the case and issued an order halting the BBS rally.A warrant was also issued for the arrest of the absconding Mathuranga and two other BBS supporters.

A BBS attempt to hold a rally in Mawanella was also stopped by a court order this week.The Police and courts are to be commended for pre-emptive action curbing the diabolical attempts of the Bodhu Bala Sena to instigate anti-Muslim violence in Mawanella and Badulla.

DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at djeyaraj2005@yahoo.com