27 September, 2020

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Sri Lanka Will Never Witness Another Black July; It Is Our Fervent Hope!

By Citizens for a Secure Sri Lanka

Attacks on Communities and Rising Levels of Insecurity among all Citizens

We, members of CSSL, who represent a cross section of the community are deeply disturbed, saddened and ashamed of the current happenings in our beloved country in the form of attacks on places of worship, Campaigns of Hate and Misinformation as well as demands for boycotting of trading establishments owned by one ethnic group. A recent study describes 65 such attacks on places of worship mostly mosques, followed by churches and a few temples, during the past 3 years.

Black July 83 - A Tamil boy stripped naked and later beaten to death by Sinhala youth in Boralla bustation | Photo - Chandraguptha Amarasingha

CSSL wishes to draw the attention of the Sri Lankan public, to the fact that an environment of fear, mistrust and lack of safety is increasing in the country, not only among the Muslim community, but among all other communities as well. The fear that is created, leads to Division and this Division to ultimate and irreparable polarization and the possibility of a debilitating lack of communication and harmony. This in turn is strengthening those who wish to accelerate social violence among the citizens of this country. This hate campaign is also targeting young minds in pre schools, regular schools and the Daham Pasala. Young children are being encouraged to look with fear and suspicion at children and adults of ethnic communities, not their own.

The corrosion of hatred started by BBS has reached every nook and corner of Sri Lanka and  has taken various forms

Our Muslim bretheren who have lived peacefully for generations, side by side with all other ethnic and religious groups have become the main target this time, through a campaign of hate speech and extreme actions by the group Bodu Bala Sena(BBS) and other similar organizations which are mushrooming. These other groups are  the Sinhala Ravaya (SR) and Ravana Balaya (RB).  This hate campaign is carried out under the guise of protecting Buddhism, the greatest and most peaceful philosophy in the world. Christians too have been attacked, though to a lesser extent and the Buddhists the least.

This insidious campaign is also being used to extract financial gain through intimidation and/or violence against Muslim traders around the country.. Besides the violence, the misinformation campaign against Muslim Trading establishments is unfair, baseless and extremely short sighted. If a business establishment belonging to any Sri Lankan is forced to shut its doors in this manner through wicked intent of boycott and stigmatising, the impact on the economy of the country is likely to be manifold. Not only does this reduce levels of revenues and taxes to the state, but also wreaks havoc in the lives of those who are employed at such establishments.

These extreme organisations also spread rumors that  Sri Lanka would be an Islamic republic, But  senior census and statistics official  disputed a claim being propagated in the country that the Muslim population is likely exceed that of the majority community. In fact the proportionate increase of the Muslim population is negligible.

Sri Lanka can ill afford another era of violence after the blood bath of the past 30 years

We also have to remember, that such attacks impact particularly on women and children of all communities, be it physical, emotional or economic. Already there are instances of violence against Muslim women on account of their dress.

If sensitivities of Buddhists or any other ethnic community have been disturbed by actions of of another, ­­there are civilized and democratic means and processes to deal with such problems.  Some of the remedies that communities have at their disposal are dialogue, consultation with learned individuals, placing the grievance before a Conciliation Board such as the Samatha Mandalaya, complaining to the Police and if all else fails using the judicial process.

While it is not yet clear what the real and specific grievances committed by the Muslims are, BBS and other  extremists reportedly point to Muslim terrorist groups operating in the country. A state that has beaten supposedly the world’s most powerful terrorist organization could easily crush the  so called Muslim groups if any.  By making such unfounded statements, it creates a fear among the Sinhalese and it is fear that begets violence.

The Sri Lankan State has the responsibility to ensure the protection of its citizens against  verifiable threats, of any kind.  There should be no room for any group to make such unfounded statements that are clearly intended to create antagonism between ethnic communities in the country.

The State’s dereliction of duty has been obvious, however, with regard to the attacks on Muslims and Christians . In many instances the Police have stood by, while attacks continued and CSSL has noted several accounts of the Police not entertaining complaints. This is not acceptable by any means. This amounts to a persecution of communities and are illustrative of forms of institutional violence. It is most unfortunate that up to now, the State response has been lukewarm at best, taking the form of occasional media statements about unity. There has not been any public demonstration of action to stem the tide of instigated ethnic disharmony. Rather, by its inaction there is much room to speculate as to where these aforementioned groups are obtaining support to carry out such activities.

The role played by some electronic and print media institutions also needs to be scrutinized and condemned, especially where time and space is provided only for extremist groups to indulge in one sided and inflammatory proclamations . A case in point  is that of a popular television channel which allowed the BBS the opportunity to utter false statements to the effect that the Buddhist priests was beaten up in Chennai by a Sri Lankan ‘Thowheed’ group. The same channel, however, did not afford the opportunity to provide a denial to this gross untruth.

While financial and other losses may be temporary,  it would take   strong and consistent efforts on the part of  the state, the private sector, religious organisations, schools and the media to unite the communities.

CSSL demands that the Government immediately commence a Campaign of Zero Tolerance against this unacceptable and injurious conduct of groups such as the BBS, SR. JHU and RB and/or any other pseudo Buddhist groups. Such a campaign should be led by the President and the Secretary of Defense with the participation of all political leaders, communities and the media. A Tribunal comprising of learned individuals who can entertain such complaints and arrive at a decision acceptable to all, would also be a creative approach in resolving conflicts.

It is our fervent hope that Sri Lanka will never witness another black July! Let us have a truly joyful and peaceful New Year 2013 and beyond.

*Citizens for a Secure Sri Lanka (CSSL) – a network of concerned individuals of all ethnicities and religions

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    We write write write write …in English..yet those who do not read such well thought out, intellectual matter just listen to a few misguided words of the BBS priests and believe in it all.

    God bless our country…!

  • 0
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    Yes it will never happen, now different way. White van, abduction, rape, murder happening almost everyday. you can call slow motion killing.

  • 0
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    J.Muthu

    While the CSSL paper is to be commended You have aptly summarised the the slow motion killings,abductions,rape, murders and disappearances to be an every day occurrence of the current black July
    Bensen

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    There seems to be a ploriferation of senavas and balakayas. A significant issue is the active participation of the Buddhist Clergy and the backing of the Secretary of Defence. The Police are idle onlookers to all these violent activities. So far not a single of these rabble rousers have been warned or taken into custody.

    In fact BBS were entertained at Temple Trees by the president and given a pep talk. The SOD went against all advise to associate with BBS and open ‘Meth Sevena'(Home of Kindness?). The building of a headquaters for BBS at Thunmulla at a cost of Rs 300 Mn sponsored by UDA indicates the long term investment and commitment of the Govt in this balu project.

  • 0
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    A well written article with so much truth and common sense. We certainly cannot afford another black July, that brought a black mark against our nation, that we should all bow our heads in shame for what happened.

    The question is, who has faith and the assurance that the Rajapaksa’s will prevent and stop such a disgusting event from happening again? It took days for the Jayawardene government to respond to that dark time,
    what makes anyone sure the Rajapaksa’s will do the right thing, when they have been obviously showing silent approval for what has happened so far – the out of of control violence against minorities by those who bring disgrace to Buddhism. Either the Rajapaksa’s are afraid of these elements, incompetent to handle this, or totally not interested in safeguarding the victims.

    • 0
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      MR is a ultra nationalist. Just like Hitler and VP. He don’t simply care. Neither did Hitler or VP care about his people. Nationalist Buddhist monks are the root problem of this country. Defense sectary is seen hanging out with Bodu bala sena a radical entity which refuses the rights of minorities and does not believe in equal rights and religious freedom for other races than the mighty Sinhalese. It’s safe to say that majority of Sinhalese are uneducated and don’t have the backbone to standup against dictators. While ministers like Mervin silva and his thug son running chaos in the country and presidents sons doing night races in Colombo the Sinhalese seems VERY QUITE. Maybe they are scared of White vans or maybe they don’t have the balls or backbone. But they seems to all active in youtube and in-front of the British and American embassies at a given notice with hate slogans. I might get banned for saying this but touch your heart and feel it. This is the truth. It’s bitter though :)

      • 0
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        I agree entirely with you. However, it is not the ignorance of the uneducated masses that is the problem here but it is the leaders who are the problem because they are misleading them. Gota, who represents the power behind the throne in the Rajapaksa regime, openly associating with the troublemakers, BBA, gives the impression to the uneducated masses that what the BBA’s actions have official approval and support.

        It is patently obvious to even a halt wit that what the Rajapaksa regime is up to is the distraction of the poor masses from the terrible economic conditions they are living under. They say socialism is the opium of the masses but for the sinhala people in Sri Lanka racism is the opium for them. It helps to mask the poverty and the other problems they face in their daily lives. It is time tested in Sri Lanka by all political parties: it works. The resulting chaos will help the regime to accrue more power.

  • 0
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    What do you call the massacre of civilians in the “No Fire Zone”. Yes LTTE also killed the civilians but LTTE did not declare the “No Fire Zone”. Above all two wrongs do not make right.

  • 0
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    The CSSl failed to understand the reality in Sri Lanka. It is not the small group of BBS, and other minor groups that are creating hatred campagin against minorities. These groups are guided by powerful persons within the mainstream parties whether it is UNP or SLFP. They used similar campagin against Tamils. Until 1983 it is thugs and extremists guided by state created hatredness. That resulted ethnic riots against unarmed Tamils which gave birth to LTTE arm struggle and you destroyed the Tamils and their lively hood.

    It is now Muslims to face the same fate. Because the growth of muslims in terms education, employment and economy are competing forces which Sinhala majority don’t like.It will definitely lead to violence and Muslims have to take up arms to protect their citizens and you move from soft tactics like the current one to military to destroy Muslim community.
    But for Tamils there was no country to defend but for Muslims there are a number of countries there to protect them. Within Tamil community there are elements you can buy them but muslims are not like that.It is not going to be simple to deal with Muslims.They have powerful background.

    • 0
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      well said
      by nature, that country and its criminals will have to pay the prize one day.

  • 0
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    I always hear that Indonesia, Afganistan and Malaysia were Buddhist countries and Islam , Islamicised these countries. I have not gone into depths of the histories of these countries. But I think it is the Hindus who occupied these countries and the Buddhists came afterwards and perhaps Muslims followed.

    why I am interested in this is that the Sinhalese seems to be a majority with a minority complex and they fear that due to conversion and growth of the Muslim population, they will become a minority. Do you all think this will happen. If yes how and if not why. If we can get rid of this fear of the Sinhalese, half of our problems would be solved. To substantiate their fear, they quote Afghanistan and Indonesia.

    • 0
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      The math just does not add up. This is yet another false bit of propaganda to make uneducated mobs and haters, turn on Muslims. Unfortunately, these elements are easily provoked, and do not have access to facts.

      [Edited out]

      • 0
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        Dhaksha

        “to make uneducated mobs and haters, turn on Muslims. “

        Are you one of them?

        • 0
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          I see you have nothing substantial to say. Not worth my time answering silly questions.
          Try someone else.

    • 0
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      You say, Before Islam came to Indonesia, Afganistan, and Malaysia those countries were BUDHIST countries. Ok my question is before Budhism what religion were they following? Because, LOARD BUDDAH came only 2500 years back. They were all may be Following some other different religion. BUDHIST monks went there an converted them as Budhists.

      We say Islam is the FIRST AND THE LAST RELIGION. The first man on this earth is ADAM, is a muslim an preached Islam. From him the human being flourished and they fought among each other, became divided and the god sent several prophets to guide them to the right path. Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus are all prophets of god and they all thought the religion of their grand father ADAM, that is islam. We believe LOARD BUDDAH also a NABI, THE ONE WHO SENT BY GOD TO TEACH PROPER WAY OF LIFE to the people of his time. Prophet Mohamed is the last prophet and the GREAT people of Afganistan, Indonesia and Malaysia are fallowing his path now and by doing so they are following the original religion thought by their great, great, great grand father ADAM. So they are now in their own religion not on forced or manupilated religions by man.

      The best answer to say Islam is the first religion is HAJ. It is rememberacne of Prophet ABRAHAM and his sufferings which happened over 5000 years ago.

  • 0
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    Its sad that not just rural folk who have this hatred towards the minorities but many educated ones too infact many of my associates with whom i have spent many an evening chatting over dinner those days they didnt say much as they were closet racists but now they have comes out and openly post pro BBS and JHU statements on social networks,these are all young professionals who are doing very well in their careers yet are so narrow minded and believe in Sinhala supremacy and for that they use the Buddhism card (a religion thats so peaceful has been hijacked here in Sri Lanka)

  • 0
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    Appreciative move keep. going we need peace not pa
    use Budhism is not hatred but love peace piece for all living creatures The current issue is created by few law breakers who want be in power by making false propaganda to find a long life through ethnic violence and fear.Let us understand this. and wirk for eternel peace

  • 0
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    “Sri Lanka Will Never Witness Another Black July” ??? Hope fervently
    you may. But the reality is on the opposite side. Not that I hope for it, but I am afraid we will have it again – and again. It was against one targeted community earlier. In future it will be others as well.
    It is the inherent indiscipline in our nature and the “Chandiya” factor in the South where there is a fascination for the village thug -though often below the surface. Look at Parliament and the Cabinet – whereas in more civilised countries these scum are unceremoniously pushed by society to the lower rungs of society in ours they are even “honoured” to lead the pack. I concede this is more pronounced in recent times.

    Senguttuvan

    • 0
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      Some are awarded hon doctorates too!!

  • 0
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    Bobu Bala sena, should go back to the dogma of the Buddhism.Buddhists’ comprehensively believe in their rebirths,if they don’t believe they aren’t Buddhists. Muslims believe that,there is no is no rebirths for them. But, every Sinala Buddhists is reincarnated, and keep on reborn in every seconds, once they died.Then,why they worried about their population going down.

  • 0
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    today balu bala sena make that happen and shame to all these thugs and animal monks act nothing less than animal.

  • 0
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    It looks like there will be another Black July in the near future. Just a few hours ago the Fashion Bug head Office was attacked by a mob led by Buddhist monks. Both the temples in the vicinity had rung their bells, during the attacks. The state not caring about their own people is obvious. There is no sincerity towards the protection of human rights at all. The STF had been sent in as the Police could not or would not? manage it.Who is standing up openly against these killer monks? Either people are scared or they are secretly happy about these attacks. This does not surprise us as the Sinhalese especially are slime balls most of the time. Being a Sinhalese, Buddhist I point the finger firmly at myself.

  • 0
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    Today on Internet there is a recording where a Budhist monk is throwing a stone at one of the establishment in Pepiliyana. police is standing by and watching. IS THIS THE TEACHING OF LORD BUDHA??? Are these monk setting the right example for the growing children of this country.
    Why is the people in heading the security establishment silent about this and why is the interior ministry who is suppose to uphold the law and order not taking any actions.

    Are we progressing in dragging our beautiful country into another DISASTER????

    • 0
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      Yes, but not the people but the saviour of Sri Lanka and the Sinhala race Mahinda Rajapaksa is doing it.
      The silence of Rajapaksa is deafening, isn’t it? What does that tell us?

  • 0
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    Black July wasn’t the first government sponsored terrorism against unarmed Tamil civilians…it happened many times before even when Tamils held peaceful demonstrations… Even after being attacked by the savage Sinhala regime, Tamils like S. J. V. Chelvanayakam insisted on the Gandhian way…

    But the Tamils were such fools! They should have known better about the Sinhalese and their genocidal sadistic ways…

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