While the tense situation in Ampara following the attack on a mosque and business premises owned by Muslims has abated, authorities continue to do nothing on the fear psychosis regarding so called ‘sterilizing drugs.’
There has been a pernicious campaign to whip up anti-Muslim sentiment among Sinhalese over the past few years. This includes the spreading of a canard that Muslim businesses surreptitiously try to sterilize Sinhalese customers using various means. Among them is the notion that substances are embedded in brassieres and the deliberate contamination of food with ‘sterilizing substances’.
The incident in Ampara involved the second, where a group of Sinhalese people allegedly under the influence of alcohol entered Hotel Cassim and forced the cashier to confess that such ‘contamination’ had been perpetrated.
Such canards have been circulated in social media for quite some time and have generated a fear psychosis among the Sinhalese. It is clearly a dangerous tendency and one which seriously threatens the conditions for peaceful coexistence among communities.
However, none of the state agencies mandated to promote such things nor various NGOs that claim to address such issues have done anything to lay the canard to rest.
Meanwhile the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, in a media release, urged authorities to conduct an impartial inquiry into the incident, drawing attention to the video clip where the mob exacts a confession from a Muslim cashier. The Council also noted that a leading Muslim textile retailer was recently accused of distributing toffees that would ‘make women barren,’ and pointed out that there is no evidence of such drugs existing anywhere in the world.