President Mahinda Rajapaksa today said that he will be appointing a high-level panel to inquire into the recent attacks on Muslims by Buddhist Monks (with the support of the Police and Army) disturbances in Aluthgama and Beruwala areas.
“I will be appointing a high-level panel to inquire into recent disturbances,” the President said in his official Twitter and Facebook accounts.
At least two persons died and over 40 other were injured following religious clashes in Aluthgama and Beruwala last week. The true figures are kept under the carpet as per orders from the governmemnt and the local media have been ‘Ordered’ NOT to report it.
The President had visited the area after arriving from Bolivia and assured that the Government will investigate the incidents. “We will conduct an impartial(?) inquiry,” he had said in Beruwala. He had also declared that the Government will rebuild homes and businesses destroyed in Aluthgama, Beruwala and Dharga town.
But behind the doors MR rejects call for banning groups over Alutgama mayhem
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that proscription of extremist organisations isn’t a problem, but such action does not guarantee that there won’t be further religious strife. The President said so in response to leader of the All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) and Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, MP,
(Vanni District) at last Thursday’s UPFA party leaders’ meeting at Temple Trees.
President Rajapaksa pointed out that extremist actions couldn’t be tackled by arresting those violating laws so it is expected that no BBS Monks will be arrested.
When the cabinet took up Alutgama issue, SLMC leader Hakeem directly accused the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) of carrying out last Sunday’s attack. The president pointed out that there were several other matters which contributed to this situation and all parties should act responsibly to defuse the crisis.
Minister Bathiudeen who had been at logger heads with the BBS leadership for some time alleged that members of the BBS weren’t behaving like monks. Their actions were an embarrassment to the Buddhist clergy, the minister said.
The president stressed the need to settle the issue, while recalling the circumstances under which a certain Muslim religious leader made a disparaging remark about Lord Buddha. Such a statement could hurt feelings, the president said. Minister Bathiudeen said that Muslim religious leader had been punished by the judiciary and the sect he belonged to too advised him against such talk.
The president said that the government wasn’t responsible for Alutgama mayhem promoting Minister Hakeem to say the Muslims held the police accountable for the situation. However, Minister Bathiudeen asserted that trouble erupted because the BBS launched a demonstration in Alutgama.
Responding to Bathiudeen, JHU heavyweight Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said that they heard of an attack on a Buddhist monk. Speculation was rife that the monk was in a critical condition and that he could even die. “Therefore, I visited the monk and realized that there was no basis for this claim.”
Minister Hakeem blamed the police for failing to take remedial action though posters appeared three days before last Sunday’s protest urging people to join the campaign.
Minister Ranawaka reacted angrily when Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara alleged that the JHU was shielding the BBS. Minister Bathiudeen reiterated that the BBS demonstration caused mayhem.