The Peradeniya Arts Faculty Teachers’ Association (PAFTA) has expressed shock at the recent spate of violence in parts of the Central Province and has unequivocally condemned “all acts of violence, stoking the fires of ethnic division, disharmony and downright hate and hostility.”
PAFTA has also appealed to the government to “act in a principled manner, conduct impartial inquiries and take decisive action,” while calling all political parties and politicians to “work toward reinstating peace and calm in the region and the country at large and also work toward instilling an atmosphere of inter-ethnic amity.”
The full text of the release is given below:
PAFTA expresses its shock at the recent spate of violent incidents that have engulfed parts of the central province and unequivocally condemns all acts of violence, stoking the fires of ethnic division, disharmony and downright hate and hostility. In the latest incidence of ethnic violence, which erupted over a violent dispute, a local event nevertheless, the violence has spilled over into the larger community, threatening to turn the situation into a conflagration of national proportions.
It is our considered view that there should be no place for violence in governance or in any act of the everyday, whether it be on the basis of gender, ethnicity, race, class, region or any other difference. Violence of any order is inadmissible and is designed in the first place to dismantle the democratic functioning of a country. It behoves upon the government which is entrusted with the responsibility of providing security to all its citizens to act upon these current infringements speedily and impartially. While curfews and a state of emergency have been declared, minority communities continue to live in a state of great anxiety, fearing for their lives; and the peace of the public sphere is severely threatened.
We appeal to the government to act in a principled manner, conduct impartial inquiries and take decisive action. We appeal to all political parties and politicians to work toward reinstating peace and calm in the region and the country at large and also work toward instilling an atmosphere of inter-ethnic amity. We shall not have a repeat of the many ethnic riots of the historical past, and of recent years. We appeal to heads of religious orders, and other community organizations, who have provided leadership to various communities, to rise to the occasion and express their condemnation of the continued incidence of meaningless violence in the name of religion and ethnicity.
In this we particularly call upon the Buddhist Order to express its concern over the participation of the clergy in acts of violence targeting various different communities. We also appeal to all peace-loving persons in this country to act in a reasoned manner and to not indulge in rumour-mongering, adding panic to an already tense situation. Ultimately, it is the people of this country who can ensure the safety of their families, friends, neighbours and their own selves.
While we demand that normalcy be brought on speedily and all communities, particularly the Muslim community in this instance, assured of their safety, we also appeal to all concerned to actively work toward ensuring long lasting peace in the country.