By Eastern Muslim University Teachers’ Association for Human Rights –
The Eastern Muslim University Teachers’ Association condemns the outrageous barbarism unleashed against the Muslims of Sri Lanka by the Sinhala Buddhist extremist forces like Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) aimed at resurrecting another pogrom of 1915 or 1983.
The recent trend of hatred and intolerance coupled with incidents associated with violence towards Muslims underlines the ethno-religious politics of the successive government in the post-independence of Sri Lanka. In the aftermath of the war in the country, the Buddhist extremist forces like Bodu Bala Sena and Sinhala Ravaya whipping up anti-Muslim campaign or hysteria with the tacit approval of the government aims at wrecking the cordial and congenial relationship between Sinhelese and Muslims.
Recent months have witnessed hard times for minorities, particularly the Muslims and Christians in the country to exercise their basic religious freedom enjoined in the constitution of the country. This shows that the complicity of the government in the centre in restraining the minorities from exercising their religious freedoms and suggests the repression of the minorities by the government. Sinhala Buddhist nationalism camouflaged under the religious vigor has caused an irreparable damage on the peace and harmony that prevails among various communities in the country and contributed to a sense of fear and anxiety among the minorities.
Yesterday, we saw a deleterious pogrom unleashed against Muslims in Aluthgama and Beruwala by the thugs of Bodu Bala Sena, which until now claimed the lives of 4 and 80 innocent civilians being injured with causing immense damage on the properties of Muslims, underlines a deliberate degeneration of Sinhala Muslim animosity, a project undertaken by the Sinhala Buddhist extremists and its patrons with a pure ulterior motive of crippling the economy of Muslims and subjugating them to the level of Tamils who are now descended to the level of aliens in the country with the elimination of the LTTE.
It is disheartening that the law enforcement authorities, which in usual circumstances appeal for a court order against a protest which has the likelihood of turning violent, allowed the access to the BBS for a meeting to be taken place followed by a protest campaign through Muslim areas inciting a violence, despite the caution and appeal made from civil society organizations of the Muslim community to stop the protest due to the tension that arose on Poson Poya day in Alutgama. This raises an issue of the deterioration of law and order in the country.
It should be condemned by all the human beings, regardless of racial and religious differences, that the human rights violations of this nature takes place five years after the end of the war. It is important that human rights organizations functioning in and out of the country take note of human rights violations occurring against Muslims in the country and bring it to an end.
We, the Eastern Muslim University Teachers’ Association, appeal to the Muslim political parties, civil society organizations, Mass media, intellectuals, and lawyers to work together to defuse the tension prevailing in the area now and bring this matter to the attention of the relevant parties and international organizations in order to bring the perpetrators of this pogrom, particularly the members of BBS, to the book and to ensure peace and reconciliation prevailed among various communities.
*Eastern Muslim University Teachers’ Association for Human Rights (EMUTAHR), Sri Lanka