President Mahinda Rajapaksa today heavily criticized the protests and hartal campaigns that were carried out in the country.
Speaking at the opening of the fuel storage facility and a re-fuelling terminal at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport and the Magampura Harbour yesterday, the President was extremely critical particularly of hartal campaigns.
“During the conflict period, the LTTE killed people irrelevant of their ethnicity. Certain groups that didn’t dare stage a single hartal campaign during the LTTE period have now started them. Large scale (maha-loku) hartal campaigns are organized for even the most minor incidents,” he said.
He was careful not to mention which hartal campaign or protest he was referring to. However, the most recently held hartal was organized by the Muslim Rights Organization last week in the wake of anti-Muslim violence that erupted in Aluthgama and Beruwela. It was carried out in several Muslim dominated areas in the country including parts of Colombo, calling for the immediate arrest of culprits responsible for the clashes.
The President also said he would not allow any one community to betray, down-trod or suppress another. “The fate of this nation should not fall into the hands of any of these minor factions of this country – we cannot stand by and let it happen,” he added.
Furthermore, he promised the law will be promptly enforced on ‘certain’ incidents that have occurred.
“Extremists on both sides have carried out actions that has incited racism; it is time both sides stopped it,” the President said.