1 October, 2022


Increasing Tensions Between The Sinhala & Muslim Communities

By Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Several violent incidents have taken place in Digana after a Sinhala truck driver died in hospital following an assault by a group of Muslim men. The police have made some arrests, but they are yet to be formally identified as the perpetrators of this murder. The full severity of the law should brought to bear on those responsible. The government should provide adequate compensation to the family of the victim. Following the violent incidents that occurred in Digana, the body of a Muslim youth has been found in a damaged house. Thus two murders have now taken place. The government has imposed a state of emergency in the country. However, even at the time of issuing this statement, tensions have not abated completely. This is the second clash between the Sinhala and Muslim communities within a week. Just days ago there was an incident in Ampara. A few months earlier, there was the Gintota incident and several other incidents in 2017 as well.

The only one way to prevent these clashes is the strict enforcement of the law. Unrest is often generated by real or perceived police inaction in relation to a complaint. The police should respond to disputes or conflicts between different communal groups promptly and decisively. Above all, mob violence and collective punishments against uninvolved persons should be prevented at all costs. It is the task of the government to direct the police properly in handling such situations. The local and foreign forces seeking to destabilise this country are trying to engineer another 1983 style conflagration to drum up support for their constitutional reforms which seek to divide this country into several semi-independent states. I call on citizens belonging to all communities to reflect intelligently on what has been happening and to refrain from all acts of violence.

In the first few years after independence, Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim leaders ruled this country together as partners. G.G. Ponnabalam had a warm and cordial relationship with the Senanayakes. That era ended in the mid-1950s as communalism and separatism came into Northern Tamil politics. In the past, the two main political parties had Muslim leaders like A.C.S. Hameed, M.H. Mohamed, Badiudin Mohamed and Alavi Maulana who were elected to Parliament not only by Muslims but also by Sinhalese voters. During those decades, tensions between the Sinhalese and the Muslims were virtually non-existent.

But since the late 1980s a section of the Muslim population has gravitated towards communal political parties. This has made it easy for conspiratorial forces both local and foreign to inflame tensions between the Sinhalese and the Muslims by using agents provocateurs. The tension that we see now between the Sinhalese and the Muslims is a fairly recent phenomenon. Everyone will remember that such tensions did not exist until about 2012. What was started by conspirators who are now in the yahapalana government, for the purpose of dislodging my government, now appears to have taken on a life of its own and mistrust between the communities is growing by the day.

Even though there are large numbers of Tamils in the north and east, the majority of the Tamil population permanently resides outside north and east, among the majority Sinhalese. Similarly though there is a significant concentration of Muslims in the east, the vast majority of the Muslims permanently live outside the east, among Sinhalese and Tamils. What we are now experiencing is the mismatch between this demographic reality and communalist politics. The very logic of communal politics requires the portrayal of other ethnic and religious groups as enemies or rivals. Today, the situation is such that a dispute or clash between individuals belonging to different religions or ethnicities, automatically leads to a communal riot that spreads throughout the area.

Obviously this is not a situation that can be allowed to continue. There is a need to create in this country a nationalistic alliance comprising of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim leaders resembling the first post-independence government. This is not going to be an easy task given the poisonous contagion of communalism that has spread in this country over the past several decades. However on the basis of the recently concluded local government elections, I have reason to be cautiously optimistic that a window of opportunity exists to be able to turn back the tide of communalism. I intend initiating a dialogue in this regard with national minded Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim individuals and organisations in due course.

*Mahinda Rajapaksa – Former President of Sri Lanka

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Latest comments

  • 3

    DoesN’t Any One Feel That We Should All Get Together and GET these Corrupted FILTHY Politicos AND Racialists ,Extremists And Terrorists Lot Out Of Office And Form Into One Solid HUMAN FORCE To Build Up This Beautiful Country Instead Trying To Release Terror -Bogus Stories Against Each Community And Without Trying To Spit On Your Faces…..Spoiling The IMAGE of our Motherland By Giving Your Back To The Evil Foreign Forces……..All Of Us Are Here………..All Religion Predict the same thing this way or otherhand we are all going to the same place after death……..IS IT NOT ENOUGH THAT WE ALL HAD —- PRETTY THREE DECADES?

    • 0

      Hear! hear!! well said.

    • 2

      My dear Ex-President,

      You may not be an Anti-minority racist but you were forced to act like one by your close relatives. After winning the war and after you won the presidential election and the general election with a two third majority, it was Not you but your relatives Gotabaya Rajapakshe, Basil Rajapakshe and Namal Rajapakshe who behaved like they were the sole owners of the country. These three took all the powers into their hands and you became a victim and finally had to lose the election. More than Basil and Namal, it was Gotabaya who made you unpopular among the minorities. After the war ended, Gotabaya did not allow you to solve the National problem, instead of taking a moderate path, you were forced to select the option of following the path of a few Sinhala-Buddhist Ultra-Nationalist Racists and Pseudo-Patriots, thinking that by whipping up Ultra-Nationalism and Sinhala Patriotism among the majority Sinhala-Buddhists, and by threatening and further suppressing the Minorities (Tamils and Muslims) you can rule the country for ever as the hero of the Majority (Sinhala-Buddhists). Even after the war ended, Gotabaya used the armed forces in the North to control the civilians (a military rule). He created the grease devils and then the BBS to threaten and suppress the Muslims (we all know that BBS is a creation of your brother Gotabaya). He used white vans to abduct and disappear those who acted/voiced against the wrong-doings of the government. Even though Basil and Namal were also culprits, the main person who made you lose the election (by losing the minorities) was none other than Gotabaya. Most of the members in the joint opposition also know very well that Gotabaya is a dictator. You know very well that the Sinhala-Buddhists are divided.

      • 4

        Continued from above…

        If you really need the minority support (you definitely need), stop your racist propaganda against the minorities (Tamils and Muslims) and keep your Anti-minority racist brother Gotabaya at a distance or else he will definitely ruin your political future.

  • 12

    Rajapakse’s statement is not helpful. He is accusing Tamils and Muslims for bringing which he names as ‘communal politics’. He fails to acknowledge how hatred between communities were fueled by the Sinhala political leaders sitting in the government, in opposition and by those calling themselves Bhuddist monks.

    At such times if he cannot contribute to peace he should sit quiet.

  • 2

    It is because Sinhalese are fed up with UNP. Unp leadership never say anything when people from minority do or say anything racist.

  • 5

    Majority of the Tamil population live in the north and east and not in the Sinhalese south. get your facts correct and do not lie. 51% of all the island’s Tamils ( Both Indigenous and Indian origin) live in the north and east. 70% of the indigenous Tamils live in the north and east and the rest largely around Colombo , where many of them have lived for generations. Colombo and the western coast were part of the Tamil homeland at one time. Especially the north west Chilaw and Puttalam areas. These were part of the Tamil Jaffna kingdoms. These coastal Tamils only took on a Sinhalese identity during the last century. Most the Tamils living south are the Indian origin estate Tamils , who have always lived there for centuries , as the British settled them there. Please post facts correctly and do not lie. The north and east of the island is the ancient and historical homeland of the island’s Tamils , just like the south is the Sinhalese homeland. This is a historically proven fact and is also recognised as per various international and local agreements. This fact will not change or does not matter on the number of Tamils living outside this area. Just because many Scots in Britain live outside Scotland does not mean Scotland is not the land of the Scots. This is the same thing for the Tamil north and east. No amount of ethnic cleansing and settling out of area Sinhalese and Muslims will not change this truth and fact. Muslims in Sri Lanka are not Moors but Dravidian Tamils whose Hindu ancestors converted to Islam. A little bit of Arab does not make them Moor or Arab and they only arrived in the island a few centuries ago.

  • 1

    They create the situation and then shape eke whitewash the whole thing. So here is the great saviour, only HE can save us. What bullshit.

  • 1

    Only other person who could be genetically linked to your character is SWRD.

  • 1

    Don’t forget folks…it is the UNP that caused most of the pograms in Sri Lanka. You have Champaka Ranawaka the greatest threat to Sri Lanka. He is a conspirator works with BBS and a few western countries to topple your country. BBS is not a creation of Gota or MR. It is a creation of the JHU. The JHU is the snake in the grass. These are extremely trying times. I hope the country does not have a worse conflagration than the 30 year war.

  • 2

    Mahinda Rajapaksa and his cursed family of thugs are the biggest anti Tamil and anti Muslim racists.The phrase ” I am a racist ” appears in the facial expressions of Mahinda and Gota the murderers from Medamulana .Now Mahinda is pretending to be a saint inorder to get Muslim votes.

  • 1

    Mr.MR, same type of racial attack happened against Msulims in Beruwala during your time, so did you take any actions against that racists? did your govt give any compensation to the victims?

    it was even obvious that BBS was spreading the anti muslims campaign across the island, so where was the law and order in that time? why didn’t you take any serious action against them ? was it because of your brother Gohta who was the main pillar of BBS ?

    Now you show your crocodile tears when it happens. Shame on you MR.Ex.President MR.

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