The issue of religious intolerance in Sri Lanka was heavy on the agenda when UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay met with senior Government Ministers yesterday while hardline Buddhist monks leading the Ravana Balaya movement protested outside the United Nations Headquarters in Colombo.
Pillay whose meetings with Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem and National Languages and Social Integration Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara focused significantly on growing religious extremism in Sri Lanka against the Muslim community also discussed the Weliweriya incident and the still in force Prevention of Terrorism Act with the two ministers.
Minister Hakeem said that he had briefed the High Commission about the steps taken to urge the Government to take action against the spread of hate campaigns against Muslims by the Muslim representatives within the Government.
All the while Monks from the hardline Sinhala movement Ravana Balaya clashed with police outside the UN HQ in Thunmulla yesterday, demanding to be allowed into the premises to hand over petitions to officials there.
The movement was protesting strongly against Pillay’s visit to the island.
Spelling her name “Pillai” the protestors held placards calling the UN human rights envoy a LTTE agent and demanded that she oversee the human rights situations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria instead of Sri Lanka.
Large numbers of police personnel were deployed to ensure the demonstration did not get unruly. When monks attempted to break the police barricades law enforcement officers formed a human chain to prevent the intrusion.
Photo Vikalpa | Groundviews | CPA