By Aman Faris –
Not long ago Hakeem went to the riot torn areas in Aluthgama, Beruwala and cried tears when he saw the plight of Muslims who were caught up in a frenzy of violence not seen since 1983. Homes and commercial enterprises belonging to them were destroyed by a mob let loose by the Bodu Bala Sena.
Three Muslims and a Tamil, working as a ‘watcher’, at a Muslim owned poultry farm were slain for no reason other than the fact they belonged to what in Sri Lankan ‘democratic’ politics is called ‘minorities’.
Millions wort of properties was destroyed. Some Sinhalese also suffered heavy losses. A lawyer family friend of mine had her house set on fire. She had built this house with her life savings. Mercifully the government had built it for her again and she told us it is now better than what it was. I am happy for her and her family.
Mosques were attacked and copies of the Qur’an were burned just for the heck of it.
The homes and shops of Muslims have also been rebuilt from what we hear. But the dead will not return and the scars will take a long time to heal. Maybe it will take a generation. Rauf Hakeem must remember that. He must bear in mind all this carnage could have been prevented had Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime acted to protect the Muslims from the mobs. It is now clear the arson attacks and the killing took place during curfew hours. Muslims were forced to stay inside the mosque while their homes and business enterprises were set on fire under the very noses of the security forces. It is now clear they encouraged the rioters. The blame for this lies at Mahinda Rajapaksa’s feet and the feet of his brother, defense secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa for the script of this dastardly deed was written by them to teach the ‘thambiya’ a lesson.
The riots came on the heels of the attacks at the Dambulla mosque. The mosque there was damaged and copies of the Qur’an were set on fire along with other Islamic literature. Not long after that incident, the mosque at Grandpass came under attack. Area Muslims had decided to protect the mosque even at the cost of their lives. We had another July ’83 in the making and I think it was divine intervention that prevented a bloodbath.
Rauf Hakeem and his SLMC must remember the words of President Mahinda Rajapaksa when he described the hartal in the east to protest and condemn the Aluthgama/Beruwala incident as a ‘too big a protest for too small an incident’.
They must also remember the fact that to this day not a single culprit has been apprehended, though the whole world knows who they were. Pictures on TV clearly show a large segment of the rioters and looters going about their foul deed like nobody’s business and yet the ‘police are investigating’ from what we hear.
Four Muslim youths were remanded for months on end for simply sending supposedly inappropriate political messages damaging the reputation of the defence secretary. But not a single culprit who attacked mosques and churches (at least one pastor was assaulted) have been produced in court much less apprehended.
And to add insult to injury the defence secretary in a sudden bout of piety visited a mosque in Berwuwala to get himself blessed. Isn’t this a joke, Rauf? And a sick one at that.
These reasons and more, you are privy to should prompt you to support the common candidate. He’s promising a new political culture that the country as a whole sorely needs. If you don’t, you will be on the wrong side of history and in the bad books of your constituency in the east who held the ‘hartal’. Besides history will describe your genuine expression of grief at Aluthgama was crocodile tears. Don’t let that happen to you.