By Hameed Abdul Karim –
The other day I came across an article that appeared in The Island titled ‘Buddha Sasana Ministry Invasion is a Rehearsal for Regime Change’ and was horrified to find the writer had casually justified the arson attack on a shop in Aluthgama owned by Muslims by claiming that this had happened because a young Sinhala Buddhist boy had been raped by the owner inside the shop.
The writer had gone to extents to twist the facts of the case to suit his ‘theory of justification’ blindly ignoring all the facts that were out there in the open days before the incident took place. The police had taken the shop owner into custody and kept him in the cop shop for one and a half days after which they were compelled to release him because there was no evidence at all to press charges.
To add insult to injury the writer states quite categorically that the boy, allegedly raped, was hospitalised. This is an absolute fabrication on his part. If this was the case, as he claims, then it would be only proper for him to check the hospital records.
According to media reports this boy in question had gone to the shop with his mother and it was at this point that the alleged incident had taken place. If the shop owner had actually raped the boy or abused him in any way then common sense suggests that quite a length of time would have passed for the act to take place. What was the mother doing while the boy was absent? Mothers usually don’t lose sight of their children when on an outing like going out shopping. Clearly this is a set up.
Another thing that your readers must consider that anybody trader of any faith will never commit such a vile crime in the place where he derives his income from fearing, what we might call, a divine backlash.
The writer then abrasively claims that in any such incident the shop would have been burned even if the culprit happened to be a Sinhala Buddhist! This is about the most ridiculous statement I have read in a long time. The media often reports cases of Sinhala Buddhist fathers raping their daughters and even grandfathers raping their grand children, but there have been no reports of their livelihoods been destroyed. Child abuse is happening as we speak and if we were to go by the twisted logic of the writer we must read of vindictive arson attacks quite often.
Moreover, in this case the CCTV footage vindicates the shop owner. If there was even a shred of evidence against him the police would never have let him go. What must be borne in mind is that the pretext for this attack is identical to the attack on the Muslim owned shop Fashion Bug at Pilyandala.
Take the reverse argument for a moment. Supposing a Sinhala Buddhist had raped a Muslim boy and a mob of Muslims had done the same thing that the mob of Sinhala Buddhists did to the Muslim owned shop in Aluthgama, would the writer or Sinhala Buddhists applaud and justify the crime? Why, there would be hell to pay if this ever happened.
Right thinking people who read this article in The Island would be angered by the casual manner in which the writer justifies and dismisses the burning of the Muslim owned shop, never mind to which faith or race they belong to. There is no doubt that this dastardly act was one based on unbridled racism.
All this brings in the role of the police. What were they doing all the while when they knew they had a situation on their hands? A situation that would cause a breach of the peace? Why did they give permission to carry out a protest march against the shop like as if it was a political rally? Or was this job consigned to the newly formed Religious Police? If so where were they?
In my stupidity I still believe there is a rule of law in this country. And in that frame of mind I think the law should have taken its course. If the Muslim trader had indeed raped the Sinhala Buddhist boy or any other boy he should have been taken into custody and dealt with, with the full force of the law.
As a civilised society (a claim that politicians often utter) we should be talking of apprehending the arsonists and about compensating the shop owner, but up until now nobody has been taken to task and the shop owner is left destitute. No police teams have been appointed to inquire into the matter even as a ploy to allay the fears of Muslims. Neither has any politician of the area ‘looked into the matter’ and promised to compensate the shop owner who probably voted for ‘his’ man or woman at the previous election. And the OIC of the police station in the area sits smugly in his seat oblivious to the crime that had been committed under his nose. Sri Lanka is certainly a ‘land like no other’.