By Latheef Farook –
Election of President Maithripala Sirisena averted an Aluthgama type attack on Muslims to mark the anniversary of 1915-Sinhala Muslim riots?
Today, Monday June 15, marks the first anniversary of the unwanted and senseless racist pogrom on innocent and helpless Muslims at Aluthgama, Dharga Town and Beruwala which ended up in the political funeral of the Rajapaksa brothers who were accused of being behind these calculated atrocities.
Killing of Muslims, looting of their belongings and the destruction of their properties were meticulously planned and executed to military precision in all these three places.
However, the island’s mainstream media, increasingly under Sinhala racist influence and the anti Muslim Israeli lobby, observed a news blackout and tried to cover up the shameful carnage. The local media only woke up to the reality after seeing the wide coverage to the mayhem in the international media.
Realizing the adverse publicity and the growing wide spread criticism by mainstream fair minded Sinhalese intellectuals, professionals and Buddhist monks, the Rajapaksa government began a program to rebuild the burnt, destroyed and damaged property. This includes places of worship.
However the wound remains deep as the perpetrators escaped scot free and the looted belongings to the value, some estimate at billions of rupees, have disappeared forever. Those racist elements which instigated these atrocities have once again begun to carry out their hate Muslim campaign.
Now a year after the carnage the unanswered question is why did the Rajapaksa government unleash a wave of violence against Muslims targeting their religious, cultural and economic life, aimed at eliminating them as a community, culminating in the Aluthgama, Beruwala and Dharga Town carnage?
Did the Island’s Muslims who are as blue blooded citizens of this country as the others are, do any crime? Did the Muslims attack any Temple, Sinhalese businesses or oppose the Rajapaksa government in any way?
Instead as the most peaceful of all the three major communities in the country the Muslims, as stated by former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, only wanted to live in peace and harmony with all communities Those Muslims in the north and east were keen to return to their homes and rebuild their lives shattered during decades of ethnic war caused by the racist politics of the two major political parties-United National Party and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.
Of course corrupt Muslim politicians shamelessly remained with the Rajapaksa government while jet setting wheeler dealer moulavis and discredited civil society leaders were more keen to please Rajapaksa brothers, perhaps for personal benefits at the expense of the community, than attending to the sufferings and grievances of Muslims.,
In unleashing this carnage the defeated President Rajapaksa government and the racist elements that carried out the hate campaign against Muslims have conveniently forgotten the role played by the Muslim community in opposing the LTTE call for a separate Elam to protect the territorial integrity of the country and the price they paid for such a stand.
What they also failed to understand is that if not for firm Muslim opposition to Elam call, the country would have been divided long ago as it was not militarily equipped, at the early stage, to meet the challenges posed by separatists backed by India.
Now the question is whose agenda was this hate Muslim campaign poisoning the Sinhalese minds against Muslims to the detriment of all communities and the country?
Perhaps the agenda of defeated Rajapaksa government’s new found friend Israel- the international pariah which destabilized the entire Middle East, time and again kicked out by Sri Lankan governments in the past only to return like midnight thieves.
However Muslims were aware that destructive racist elements always saying that “we will take care of the Tamils first and deal with Muslims later”. Perhaps they got that opportunity in the aftermath of the defeat of the LTTE in May 2009 with the patronage of Rajapaksa government and, as I always suspect, the support of the Israelis who have stealthily entered the country with the support of Rajapaksa government and managed to penetrate many key areas.
Dealing with local politicians is simple for Israelis, whose only agenda has been against Islam and Muslims as, by and large, most local politicians and even media personnel are ignorant of Israel’s crime records and their indifference towards injustice towards Muslims here and abroad.
This is the reason why the Muslims voted for President Maithripala Sirisena in the 8 January 2015 presidential elections .Muslims feared an island wide attacks on Muslims this year especially in the context of provincial counselor Udaya Gammanpila openly stating that an attack on Muslims is inevitable in 2015 to mark the anniversary of 1915 Sinhala Muslim riots.
This fear was further strengthened by the Rajapaksa government allowing Myanmar’s controversial Buddhist monk Asin Wirathu, once described by TIME magazine as the “Face of Buddhist Terror”, who has been carrying on a relentless campaign against the Rohingya Muslims, to enter the country and giving a reception usually given to a head of state and signing an agreement with anti Muslim racist outfit Bodu Bala Sena.
In view of these developments many knowledgeable Muslims believe that the election of President Maithripala Sirisena averted an island wide Aluthgama type attack on Muslims by racist elements to mark the 1915 Sinhala-Muslim riots this year.
It was under such circumstance Muslims observe the first anniversary of the Aluthgama carnage.
Meanwhile a book titled “Mayhem during Curfew “on Aluthgama, Bruwala and Dharga Town atrocities was released recently. This book contains a collection of selected articles, appeared both in the local and the international media, on the attacks on Muslims of Aluthgama, Dharga Town and Beruwala. The local media dismissed the pogrom and thus the need to put the record straight for posterity.