crimes of bigoted Buddhists against Burma’s Muslim minority and a rising tide of violence against the Muslims of Sri Lanka

buddhist-monks-protest-in-colombo 3As usual President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is famous for ‘Promising to investigations’ which will never bring any outcome, has expected ”Promised an investigation into the violence”.  The culprits in the BBS are of course well known to the President and a close associates of his Brother Gotha who is feared more powerful than Mahinda locally in Aluthgama, hence Muslim community leaders are not hopeful that any criminal charges will be laid against them.

Interestingly there are Muslim leaders who are Ministers in the Mahinda Government, They are known to be puppets of the President Mahinda and has NO Official powers but enjoy all financial benefits of the Ministry they hold. It is believed that their only job is to lobby the Muslim world leaders to support the Racists Buddhists government of Sri Lanka in return of receiving the luxury benefits from President.

A group of representatives from the opposition United National Party, who visited Beruwala this evening, were sent back by angry mobs who didn’t want them to proceed as there were ‘Muslims’ in the group.  The group consisted of Chairman of the UNP Leadership Council Karu Jayasuriya, Chairman of the UNP Kabir Hashim, Tissa Attanayake, Ruwan Wijewardene, Eran Wickremeratne, Harin Fernando and Dr. Harsha de Silva with WPC members Ifthikar Jameel, Lakshman Wijemanna, Mujibur Rahman and Fairoze Haji.

Dr. Omalpe Sobitha Thera 2“Sad to say, the situation in Beruwela does not seem anything near ‘normal’ as told to us by the Government Ministry of Law and Order. The tension is very high. In fact we came face-to-face with an unruly-drunk-abusive mob in a ‘Sinhala area’ who threatened physical harm to the Muslim elected representatives in our group if not immediately sent back, presumably to a ‘Muslim area’. 

There is an increasingly alarming similarity between the crimes of bigoted Buddhists against Burma’s Muslim minority and a rising tide of violence against the Muslims of Sri Lanka.

Government sources in Colombo protest that  there is no resemblance, arguing that the big difference is that no one has been killed in attacks on mosques and Muslim homes in Sri Lanka. Though unofficial reports have suggested that there has been at least THREE Muslims Killed and more than 70 injured, there can be no doubting the savagery of attacks on Muslim properties. 

The vicious campaign by monks belonging to the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), the Buddhist Brigade, began in earnest in 2013 when a mob attacked a mosque in the capital, which left five people injured. The authorities imposed a clampdown and the police said they at the time that they knew who the attackers were. However no one had been arrested and punished to date. The BBS has the support of Defence Minister Rajapaksha who is accused of War crimes against killing of Tamil Civilians.

Mahinda Rajapaksa What will be so puzzling for many outsiders is how Buddhists, whose core belief is supposed to be non-violence, can take part in such aggressive and hate-filled crimes.  As a result of the long and bitter fight against Tamils who took arms against consecutive racists governments against the discrimination on minority Tamils came to an end by killing more than 170,000 Tamils by the Sinhala Army of Sri Lanka in May 2009, the government as shown the racist policies on the Muslims now.   And indeed it may be no coincidence that assaults on the Muslim community, only began to pick up once the Tamil separatists had been defeated. It is as if some Buddhists now feel that they must turn their anger on a different minority. 

Now Sri Lanka’s Muslim community, which makes up around ten percent of the population, has been subjected to further serious attacks by the BBS.  This week, after a rally of members in the town Aluthgama, a crowd, many of them monks, set off on a spree of destruction, burning shops and damaging a mosque. It is reported that police did little to intervene until angry Muslims began to strike back at the mob.

As usual President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is famous for promising to investigations which will never bring any outcome has expected ”Promised an investigation into the violence”.  The culprits in the BBS are of course well known to the President and a close associates of his Brother Gotha who is feared more powerful than Mahinda locally in Aluthgama, hence Muslim community leaders are not hopeful that any criminal charges will be laid against them.

Nor is there much faith in Rajapaksa promised enquiry. It is not rocket science to see that the monk-led BBS, very probably inspired by the depravities of its counterpart in Burma,  lies at the heart of the troubles.  The public grounds for their protest are weak. They revolve around a complaint that the Muslim’s enjoy a disproportionate amount of influence.  It is no comfort to this fearful minority that the BBS has also in the past attacked Christian churches and properties and Hindu Temples.

The Buddhist thugs in Burma of course have no such excuse. Though the rule of the Burmese military junta was harsh and the suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations cruel and violent, militant action against the Rohingya and other Muslim groups in the country has long been officially sponsored.  Thus Rohingya have been robbed of their citizenship and civil rights.  Events in Sri Lanka have not yet reached such a low level. Nevertheless, the Rajapaksa administration should be aware that unless it acts firmly to stop the hate-filled crimes of the BBS, a watching Muslim world will become even less impressed with Sri Lanka’s already dubious human rights record.