Even as two weeks passed since police claimed they had deployed several units to arrest Bodu Bala Sena’s (BBS) Galagoda Atte Gnanasara who reportedly continues to be in hiding to evade arrest, yet another Muslim-owned shop ‘Rich Shoe Palace’ was torched on Friday night in Mahiyangana.
This is at least the fourth Muslim owned business to be torched within this week alone. The shop was owned by a Muslim businessman from Batticaloa’s Kattankudy. Over the past one week, Muslim owned shops in Dematagoda, Maharagama and Nugegoda have been set on fire.
Despite even calls from the diplomatic community to take action against the increasing attacks on the Muslims, the government continues to soft peddle the incidents, and is yet to openly even condemn the attacks against the minority community.
On May 25, the police headquarters said that it had deployed several units to arrest Ganansara, however two weeks later, they are yet to apprehend him and the police claim that as he is in hiding, they are helpless.
Incidentally the attack on the latest Muslim owned shop in Mahiyangana comes almost a year after Gnanasara threatened to repeat the Aluthgama riots in Mahiyangana against the Muslims. Addressing a Satyagraha on June 21, 2016 to protest against the arrest of two youth from the area, Gnanasara told the IGP to take action against the senior police officers in the area, as they are not working in accordance to the wishes of the Buddhist clergy. “If you can’t handle them, tell us, we will take care of them. We only need about 50 people to take care of them, and we are not scared to go behind bars,” he said. Gnanasara in his speech added that if his group didn’t receive a favourable response from the IGP and the government, the BBS will not think twice to commence ‘phase 2 of the Aluthgama’ mayhem.
Despite openly admitting that he was behind the 2014 Aluthgama carnage, the government and the police turned a blind eye and did not take action against him.