Neighbourhoods in Aluthgama and Beruwala areas yet remain tense although it has been a month has passed since the anti-Muslim in Southern Sri Lanka.
The Secretariat for Muslims (SFM) issuing a media statement to mark one month since the eruption of the anti-Muslim violence in the country, has urged the government and all civil society actors to take swift action to address the grave breakdown in inter-community relations in the affected areas.
“Many if not most Muslim and Sinhalese in the affected areas now barely speak to each other and neighbours remain tense,” the statement reads as it goes on to state that restoring ties and relations will be a long term process that needs to start immediately.
The SFM has held the government primarily responsible for the present plight in the country, pointing out the blames mainly lie with the delay to deliver justice to victims and in the failure to implement corrective actions and prevent further escalations in tensions, hatred and violence.
The statement asserts that what is important at present is not the matter of who cast the first stone but of the larger context of Sri Lanka’s troubled transition into peace.
“The country is becoming severely polarised around narratives of who-did-what-and-who-suffered-the-most,” the SFM states adding with regret with regret that such narratives mobilized by media, government actions and prominent personalities to explain the violence as a response to a single incident has led to the suffering being justified without probing critically as to how a localised incident set off such a large scale mayhem.
The SFM has gone on to point that while specific local incidents leading up to the outbreak of the violence must be look at, it should also be noted that it was fuelled by a larger climate of intolerance and hate that has been prevalent for the past three years.
While pointing out the Muslim communities in the affected areas are suffering compounded with the knowledge that the violence occurred in what they consider to be before the full view of the state, the statement asserts the failure for the state to provide protection highlights systemic issues that need to be addressed including the need for an accountable and independent Police force serving all citizens rather than the political interests of the government in power.