25 May, 2019

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Fear Returns To Sri Lanka After Bombings

By Meenakshi Ganguly

Meenakshi Ganguly

This month marks 10 years since the end of Sri Lanka’s long and brutal civil war. But instead of celebrating peace and seeking justice for crimes committed during that conflict, Sri Lanka faces another terrible challenge, and is again under a state of emergency.

On April 21, Easter Sunday, nine suicide bombers allegedly affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS) targeted churches and hotels, killing more than 250 people and injuring over 500.

As the government works to restore security and bring those responsible to justice, military checkpoints have returned to the streets. The Prevention of Terrorism Act and new emergency regulations provide sweeping powers of detention without charge, and the authority to curtail other rights including freedom of expression. For many, this is a painful reminder of the insecurity of the civil war years.

Muslims in Sri Lanka, especially around 1,500 refugees and asylum seekers, mostly persecuted minorities from Pakistan and Afghanistan, have suddenly found themselves in a particularly uncomfortable position. Falsely linked to the bombings by angry local residents, around 1,200 are crowded into three makeshift sites, where they have been living with meager basic necessities for almost two weeks.

All face coverings, including face veils used by some Muslim women, have been banned. While the authorities said keeping faces uncovered is necessary for security reasons, suspicious employers and neighbors have sometimes demanded women even remove their head scarves. Landlords facing local pressure have evicted Muslim refugees from their homes. And in Negombo, where one of the church bombings occurred, a private dispute developed into communal violence in which homes and shops of Muslims were destroyed.

Even as many Sri Lankans, including church leaders, try to prevent the situation from deteriorating, activists worry the enhanced security measures can lead to a repeat of past abuses, which included forced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, prolonged detention without charge, and torture, including sexual abuse.

The government now says all the perpetrators of the Easter attacks have been killed or detained. It is important that these appalling bombings do no further harm. Sri Lanka’s fragile progress towards protecting fundamental rights, as pledged in a 2015 United Nations Human Rights Council resolution, need to be safeguarded.

*Meenakshi Ganguly – South Asia Director – Human Rights Watch 

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Latest comments

  • 4
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    Do no harm!
    harm has already been done..
    By our action, we should not aggravate the already tense situation.
    Tit for tat will do more harm to all of us

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      Meenakshi, Reuters and other Fake news agencies in Sri Lanka needs to be scrutinized and their stories fact checked..This is a sensitive time and reporters have a responsibility to be balanced, rather than spread Fake news to spread fear Psychosis, religious conflict. and crash the economy further.
      There is a lot of fake news that Muslims are being attacked by Buddhists at this time, as well as, Fake news that the Sri Lankan economy has hit an “18 years low by anonymous Reuters reporters base on talking to 10 individuals. Trumpland linked foreign media like Reuters stories need to be fact checked.
      This fake news is to crash the economy also by spreading fear and encourage Lanka to become a military colony of USA in its Cold War on Asia Rising and China– to make America Great again!

      Reuters Fake news on Sri Lanka needs to be scrutinized. CNN and France 24 ran ticker tape ramping up fake news attack on the economy based on Reuters fake news just because a hotline was set up for Muslims in Sri Lanka. There is a clear and sinister intent to crash the already debt trapped and currency manipulated economy while the shady Millennium challenge Corp. (MCC) offers a measly 480 $$ so that Trumpland can colonize the country at a very cheap rate is on-going. This is why Bondscam Ranil’s, Avant Guard scam Foreign Minister is rushing to Washington DC next week ! Pl. do a piece on this

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    “The government now says all the perpetrators of the Easter attacks have been killed or detained.”

    Closing the stable door after the horses have bolted out !!!

    • 0
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      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

    • 1
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      Here we go again – the Human Rights Industrialists and its instant experts in top gear!

  • 3
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    Right comment for this, I wrote in the prime or the first article. Here after people will be scared go near bearded muslims carrying backpacks full of goodies. Sri lanka had Che GUvera 30 years of homicide bombings. The west gave military Aids to annihilate ce guveras. Then LTTE came. Human bombs exploded for 30 years. those days also schools were there. NOW SUDDENLY, because of this one day bombings by local muslims, Ranil, AND Fonseka are screaming every building needs high security.
    ‘I think they both are selling for weapons and high tech equipment manufacturers. Earlier RANIL and Harsha de silva were saying we have to buy expensive items such as war ships, fighter jetc etc., protect the INdian OCEAN. WHAT IS GOING ON.

  • 2
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    Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia Director – Human Rights Watch, has in mind the 2019 Lankan Easter Sunday tragedy in {“Fear Returns To Sri Lanka After Bombings”}
    The people of N&E remember the times of indiscriminate real bombs, barrel bombs from helicopters and shelling. THEY FEAR REPEATS.
    .
    Meenakshi is being Politically Correct in avoiding the role played by Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), the patrons, protectors and financiers.
    Please address this Madam before it is late.

  • 4
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    Yes first and foremost we need answers for the already existing problems
    BBS — originator and financiers
    White van —organisers
    Grease Yakkas — Who orchestrated
    Muslim Home Guards — under former Defence Secretary

  • 2
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    Once again I like to reiterate that it is one Ayathuray Rajasingam who wrote number of articles on Islamic terrorism on Colombo Telegraph and other Sri Lanka paper as well as other web sites can take on these barbaric Islamic terrorists. He is the one who really took on these terrorists and send message of alert by way of writing articles. As he mentioned Rishard Badurdeen and Hisbullah should be first arrested.

  • 0
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    Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia Director – Human Rights Watch – This is a NATO/USA project human rights watch. Fortunately, you people could not catch BBS BHIKKU. He is in the jail. How do you explain EDUCATED muslims, ISIS is NATO project and they attacked innocent sri-lankans. How grate that muslims who supported the govt and supported to catch the culprits or the stupid WAHABIs, a creation of the west. How great the Sri Lankw- n Buddhists, Muslims and Christians alike donated blood and showed how great those sri lankans are. That is great reconciliation naturally occurring in Sri lanka. Sri lanka is not India or Some western country that you would reside. You know how many books have written by the Capitalist – neo-liberal camp to take over Asia via THERAVADA BUDDHISM. Before your crappy Human Rights, Asian countries had better human rights based on Buddhism. Now you people come and destroy it. Are you collecting some lies to get more Funds

  • 0
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    Thank you Meenakshi Ganguly. It’s a great but brief article. I would like to read more from your write-ups. We need many more writers like you who can responsibly analyse the current Sri Lankan situation.

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