15 October, 2019

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Stop Blaming The Victims

By Ameer M Faaiz

Ameer M. Faaiz

Ameer M. Faaiz

In the weeks that have passed since 6-15 (15th June) when Sri Lanka witnessed one of the worst outbreaks of anti-Muslim violence, the official narrative has been as chilling as the events.

The government initially dismissed the violence that has so far claimed at least four lives directly, displaced over 370 families and damaged property worth about Rs. 5.8 billion[1] as a “minor incident”.

Blaming the Victims

The Sri Lanka Government’s first formal statement on the events was delivered at the 26th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, four days after the riots. In a shocking omission of facts, the statement makes no reference to the pre-planned rally held that day in Aluthgama where prominent members of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) addressed a gathering of over 7,000 people, declaring the end of all those who laid a finger on a Sinhalese.[2] Instead the government statement narrated two other incidents, both of which positioned Buddhist monks as victims and Muslims as culprits. The first was an alleged assault on a Buddhist monk by three Muslim youth. The second, described as the ‘incident that led to the violence’ alleged the stoning of monks and other individuals as they were ‘passing a Mosque in Dharga Town’.

The official stance currently formulated is that nebulous and unnamed Muslim extremists are to blame. Following widespread condemnation of the violence, both at home and internationally, Buddhist extremist groups and political parties represented in the ruling alliance were quick to shift the blame to unseen Muslim extremists.

Manipulation through Media

The contortion of facts was not limited to the international fora. A narrative that over-looked the obvious agency of the BBS and placed a spotlight on the bugbear of Muslim extremism was widely reproduced in the state media. In recent years, ample room has been given for propagation of anti-Muslim hate speech and violence, which have been nurtured with alarming frequency. In this context, the mainstreaming of such a misleading narrative is a further disturbing development.

Aluthgama ViolenceThe government blames the eruption of violence on conspirators who have designs to discredit Buddhists and tarnish Sri Lanka’s image internationally. This explanation is now as tired as it is ridiculous. The government has been rolling it out for over five years – especially when journalists and oppositional figures are killed/disappeared.  The only difference now is that the conspirators seem to have converted to Islam.

Blamed though they have been, when pushed, military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya admitted that the military intelligence, maintaining a presence that covers the entire country, has not found any evidence to back claims of Muslim extremist groups operating in Sri Lanka.[3]

Telling the Truth about the Government

The truth has always been different to what the government has said. Today, the truth is that the government of Sri Lanka is the chief incubator and facilitator of extremist Buddhist groups responsible for orchestrating a vitriolic hate campaign against the Muslim community, and whose actions in Aluthgama on the day of the riots were a direct incendiary to the mayhem and violence.

Any attempt to re-write the story of Aluthgama by tracing the source of trauma to non-existent Muslim extremists must be called out for its falsehood. The people in Sri Lanka today, and especially the Muslims should recognise the true face that they have to fear. It is the face that masquerades as the solution, when in fact it is the problem. It is the face that controls the monopoly on violence. Sri Lankans, no matter their ethnicity or religion, who forget this or fail to see it will do so at their own future peril.

Members of Parliament Must Move on the Matter

MPs who have spoken straight and called a spade a spade have invariably suffered vilification and pushback from the government. Minister Rauf Hakeem too has been attacked for voicing opposition to what has happened. Yet, he will need to do more to establish the credibility of the SLMC, win back the confidence of the Muslim people and recover at least a modicum of dignity to the Ministry of Justice which he heads for the government.

Others with self-respect in parliament who also now know that what happened, and the way it has been covered up, simply cannot allow these events to be glossed-over or forgotten. If they do, it will happen again. High officials have trotted out illogical and false explanations, and since the government will not, at least members of parliament must move to hold them to account.

The Government is Accountable

Events of 6-15 in Aluthgama, Beruwala, and the surrounding areas, and their aftermath, should leave no further doubts that the only way to salvage from the current malaise is for all citizens, Muslims included, to steadfastly insist that the political establishment and the institutions of government in Sri Lanka be subject to democracy and be accountable to the citizens.

The non-accountability of the state is today’s most critical problem. It is this problem that makes international attention on Sri Lanka a relief to the citizens of Sri Lanka and victims of this government. The wisdom of the SLMC in drawing international attention to information on past violence is now evident. Perhaps the SLMC has not done it enough. The religious entities, particularly the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama, having experienced on earlier occasions in allowing it’s outreach and credibility amongst the Muslim community to be used would do well to refrain from areas that are strictly not their expertise.

The government will not change its ways until those who call the shots and the high officials who dance to their tunes are made to face the force of accountability. Accountability to the public, accountability to justice, and accountability to universal human values that we all share, irrespective of our ethnicities and religions.



[1] http://parliament.lk/uploads/documents/hansard/1403758521021898.pdf (Speech by MP Mohamed Aslam, 20 June 2014)

[2] D.B.S.Jeyaraj, ‘Anatomy of Anti-Muslim Violence: How “Bodhu Bala Sena” Mobs Caused Mayhem in Aluthgama and Beruwela’ on 29 June 2014, at http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/30652

[3] http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2014/06/22/no-jihadists-in-sri-lanka/  and http://www.ceylontoday.lk/51-67253-news-detail-pak-roundup-began-after-mrs-return-from-delhi.html

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Latest comments

  • 11
    0

    It is utter failure of government and law enforcement agents. It is a well plaaned attack. It should be said that many Sinahales condemned it . Many politicians of all sides condemned it . Many higher level monks and academics have condemned it.
    Yet, government should take responsibility and deal with it without any prejudice or discrimination. Consider how many poor Sinahalse people in cloth factory and no limit lost their jobs and families are in great financial difficulties. Who help them? What is wrong this police and SFT people who watched the mobs go mad? Why did not stop it ? What is the point having them ?
    If it’s true goverment some of these police officers should be sacked.
    Sri Lanka has got one justice for Sinahase another for Tamils and Muslims
    What type of country is this?
    Is this what we are heading for

    • 3
      1

      Nass,

      “What type of country is this? ” Sinhala Buddhist Racist Country populated by South Indian paras.

      This is a Para-Sinhala-Para-Buddhist Country populated by paras from South India, in the Land of Native Veddah.

      The Vedda Tribe

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f89NuukY32U

      • 0
        5

        Amarasiri, PAra Demalo:

        This muslim guy writing this article has forgotten 1915 muslim riots in Maha Nurawara against Sinhala – buddhists.

        • 0
          0

          …where 136 Moslems were killed by Bufhists, and no Budhists were killed !

        • 3
          0

          Jim softy and Avatars,

          Why do you want to call Amarasiri ParaDemala, when all the Para-Demala and Para-Sinhala are ALL Paras from South India.

          This is Amarasiri’s Tribe, The Vedda Tribe.

          The Tribe calls you Paras, Pra-Sinhala and Para-Tamul. The tribe knows the Para-Sinhala calls them “AadiVassi”.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f89NuukY32U

          What are you? What are you?

          1. Lorenzo?
          2. ella-kolla
          3. Mechanic
          4. Banda
          5. Other

      • 0
        0

        Worship according to the final revelation means obedient submission to the will of Allah. This was the essence of the message of all the Prophets sent by Allaah to humankind. For example, this understanding of worship was emphatically expr… See More
        — with Islam Wisdom and 49 others.

  • 7
    0

    What’s happening? No minor incidents but ‘Maha Loku Hartal’ as per MR? No Riots, Arson, Looting and Deaths in Aluthgama and Beruwela? No-Limit Panadura was not set on fire? Mosques in Dharga Town, Ratmalana and Colombo Fort were not vandalized? There is only Metta, Karuna, Mudhitha, Upekha & Ahimsa in this Paradise???????
    But alas! it is just Bloody Bull Shit (BBS) sponsored and supported by the State.

  • 2
    0

    If it is for minorities major things become minor because they are minorities. If it is for Majorities minor things become major because they are majorities and because they are the law makers and they are the judges. here majorities are Sinhala Buddhists and minorities are Muslims and Tamils. It is surprise the Muslims considered massacre of 70, 000 Tamils as minor thing when they joined their hands with Majority Sinhala Buddhists.
    What lessons should Muslims learn from this episode is: Unless it happens to us, we will never learn a lesson.

  • 0
    7

    Aluthgama muslims attacked Sinhala Neighbour hoods,then only BBS had to involve.

    Initially arab trader – muslims were killed by Portuguese and then Sinhala buddhists gave them the refuge. Those muslims created 1915 riots.

    Most recently, they attacked Aluthgama sinhala neighbourhoods.

    • 3
      0

      Just like the bad, bad muslims started ’83 too.

      Forgotten your own race’s propensity for rape, looting and murder, i see.

      Stick to cleaning latrines, Jimmy boy. History and politics are for those with an IQ that exceeds that of a braindead dog.

      • 1
        2

        kp

        “Stick to cleaning latrines, Jimmy boy.”

        Whats wrong with cleaning latrines?

  • 1
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 2
    1

    Jim softy

    Why do you want to keep lying? Don’t you have any shame? Sinhala Buddhists have no shame? Did Para-monk Mahanama teach you to lie?

    The President and most if the Sinhalese Buddhists are lying.

    Aluthgama Attack 15_6_2014

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ylqbhDDx6w

    http://www.lankatruth.com/home/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7223:slip-reveals-gotas-target&catid=36:top-stories&Itemid=124

    Slip reveals Gota’s target
    SATURDAY, 05 JULY 2014

    An incident that confirms the Department of Police is indeed under the Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, despite his saying it’s not an institution under him but is under another ministry and a Secretary, has been reported.

    n an interview the Defense Secretary had with ‘Daily Mirror’ on 1st July, he states he was not responsible for the accusations against the police for the incidents that took place at Aluthgama and Beruwala. He says, “But still why blame me? The Police doesn’t come under me, it’s a different Ministry in itself.”

    However, answering another question in this interview the Defense Secretary says, “I was in Mihintale and the IGP and the Secretary to the Ministry of Law and Order was also there. As soon as we got to know about this I knew it could escalate into something unwarranted because the area is a very sensitive one. Even in 2007 there was a similar tension in this area. I immediately instructed the IGP to go to Aluthgama. I also requested the secretary of the Ministry of Law and Order to go there. The IGP on the same night immediately came to Aluthgama.”

    In this statement the Defense Secretary indicates he directly ordered and instructed the police to get involved in the incidents.

    The Defense Secretary is making a strong attempt to indicate that he had no connection with Aluthgama and Beruwala incidents as the incidents would harm his future political plans. In the interview he says, “Why am I blamed? This is purely done by people who are frighten of me coming to politics. They are frightened because I have proved myself be it in either Defense or Urban Development.” And when asked whether he would come into politics he says, “If the President invites me I will definitely come and I assure you that I can do much better than many of these politicians currently holding office.” It is so serious that he has to deny he has any connection with BBS and other extremist organizations by saying,” I will give up this post if they can prove this. I will leave this post if they can prove that I have any connection with any of these organizations.”

    If the Department of Police is not under him the Defense Secretary cannot order or instruct the IGP and the secretary to the ministry to go to Aluthgama. The fact he wanted to hide has been revealed from his own statement

    • 0
      3

      The Sinhalese are living in this country for centuries. The Muslims came from Arab countries and south India (Tamil Nadu). If the Muslims are not happy in this country they can return to their Arab countries and live according to Sharia Laws. The Defence Ministry catogorically stated the BBS is not involved.

  • 0
    3

    49 mosques have been destroyed in Iraq yesterday alone.

    Why no one is concerned?

    Why always blame non-Muslims. We should first blame ourselves before we Muslims kill us to extinction. Most Muslim countries in the world are in a deep mess.

    If SL is so bad Muslims in SL will go to Iraq!!

  • 2
    0

    These monks must start giving Bana and Deshana to their own Sinhala Buddhist people without attacking the tenets of other religions on public platforms. The horrendous crimes that are being committed by ordinary Sinhalese folks is a sign of the degenerative state of their physce and mind set. Father killing both children on account of wife having illicit affair in Mid East. A 64 year old man setting himself on fire in front of Fort Railway station, Buddhist monk setting fire to himself in front of Dalada Maligawa, the list goes on and on. Drug addicts and Alchoholics are on the increase, with Casinos coming in a big way, very soon we will see an increase in local gamblers, including tarts and pimps plying their trade, thus causing further ruination of peaceful homes, rich heritage and culture, children welfare, increase in school dropouts, and finally affecting the quality of the country’s future leaders. All this whilst the Mahanayake Theros are sleeping on the job, and letting the juniors have a field day. They fail to realize that they are duty bound to protect and guide their people to the correct path.

  • 0
    4

    Muslims – stop crying
    If you can’t reconcile with majority, then move out of here…

    writing articles won’t do any good to you

    • 1
      0

      Podiyan

      Stop playing with craps out there,come inside,
      Hamuduruwo waiting for the class and you can
      have fun with a real crap!

    • 0
      0

      for goodness sake! sterile ele,

      cant you think of anything apart from racing and foaming at the mouth??

      (^‿◕)

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