Making clear reference to the recent brutal attacks on two Christian churches in Hikkaduwa earlier this month, the state controlled press has claimed the Buddhists taking the law into their hands are a persecuted people and that the Sinhala majority in Sri Lanka are often not permitted to do anything tangible about aggressive proselytization and the barely legal establishment of churches and other places of religious worship.
In his editorial of 22 January 2014, entitled, THE ONGOING GENOCIDE AGAINST THE SINHALESE Editor of the state controlled Daily News Rajpal Abeynayake says people besieged in this way can easily be paranoid, or they can overreact and it is suspected that the entire idea is precisely to get them to go over the top, so that this fact can be used against their further persecution as well, taking on the role of apologist for marauding saffron mobs perpetrating violence against minority religious communities.
“The Sinhalese majority is in the unenviable position of not being able to defend any sustained undermining of its culture, and way of life. There is no freedom of expression for the Sinhalese if it means pointing out that their values are being usurped, or that there are systematic unethical conversions for instance,” the editorial says.
The state controlled newspaper claims that there is something in the order of an Inquisition that is taking place against the Sinhala people.
“That Inquisition, it is right, is not pursued with guns, bombs or weapons of torture, but it is still an Inquisition within the broad meaning of the word. An Inquisition is a sustained period in which a people are subject to intense scrutiny and questioning during which they are barely given the right to defend themselves. One part of that Inquisition that is now taking place is in Geneva, and to be sure it is well sustained, as every year this exercise of persecution takes place without respite,” Abeynayake notes.
There is a genocide perpetrated against the majority Sinhalese in Sri Lanka and all right thinking persons in this country should join in the task of fighting this systematic attempt to destroy what is a proud and ancient race,” the voice of the Rajapaksa state goes on to say.
Referring to the safeguarding of Sri Lanka’s territorial integrity as a prerogative and task carried out by the Sinhalese, Abeynayake goes on to say that the Sinhala people are being told that they should revise or entirely rewrite their history, and that they were wrong to defend the territorial integrity of their country in the first place.
Abeynaike claims that there is ongoing persecution of the Sinhalese and that their culture and their traditions were being threatened.
“But what is sadder is the fact that this majority so called is in the melee, also systematically being made to lose their voice. The moment they begin to detail any of this truth about their ongoing persecution and the usurpation of their cultural and religious rights through intrepid intimidation, they are called chauvinists, and there are laws mooted to curtail their constitutional right to free speech, bringing it under the rubric of something called ‘hate speech.’,” the editorial said.
Analysts point out that editorials in the state controlled press were clearly taking a position on the ongoing anti-minority violence, and attacks on places of Christian and Islam worship while the President makes regular statements about no race being superior to the other and promising not to permit the harassment of minorities. The Rajapaksa regime should make it clear if the position taken by the state controlled Daily News on this issue reflects the mindset and official position of the ruling regime and if not, the Daily News editor must be censured and called upon to apologise or resign over his actions, these analysts told Colombo Telegraph.