In recent times, Sri Lanka has seen a rise in ethnic tensions fuelled by the Bodu Bala Sena ( BBS). For some months, the BBS has been inciting hatred against religious minorities; resulting in intermittent attacks on churches, mosques and the occasional attack on businesses owned by Muslims . BBS monks have also been caught on video threatening violence against their moderate colleagues who advocate tolerance.
However, in the last few days, the situation appears to have escalated dramatically. The violence began after a speech by BBS Galagoda Atthe Gnanasara at a BBS rally in Aluthgama, which came three days after a smaller clash resulting from an accident between a Muslim youth’s motorbike and a bhuddist monk’s car.
Muslim homes and mosques have been stoned. A curfew has been imposed in the coastal town Beruwala, where Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha (a muslim minister in the current government) “is currently blockaded in at the Nallemiyah Arabic College in Beruwala with an armed mob standing outside to attack those within, reports just coming in from the ground said.” Eyewitness accounts tell of Muslims being pulled off local buses and being beaten.
Sadly, there are also reports of three Muslims being shot to death near Walipitiya Mosque by the violent mobs.
The violence has now spread to Dehiwala, in the capital Colombo, where the Harcourts Pharmacy has been attacked. The vast majority of the Bhuddist population in Sri Lanka are against the actions of BBS. But, the inaction of the government has led to blood shed in the country, again.
We call upon the Sri Lankan government to take immediate action to ban the BBS and bring the perpetrators of this violence to justice. Sri Lanka has just emerged from a 35 year ethnic war, and has been enjoying peace in recent times. We do not want Sri Lanka to be dragged into another ethnic conflict resulting in the deaths of innocent people, and another generation growing up with a backdrop of war.
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