The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka has today written to the Minister of Minister of External Affairs GL Peris, the Minister of Technology & Research Patali Champika Ranawaka and the Inspector General of police regarding the stamens made by them regarding the riots in Aluthgama. In a letter to Minister Champika Ranawaka, the Muslim Council said that they had restrained themselves from commenting on the relentless allegations the Minister has been hurling against the Muslims due to the positive interaction they have had with him and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU). In its letter to Prof Peris it says the blatant misinformation disseminated by Sri Lanka’s permanent mission in Geneva, Switzerland, with regard to the recent unfortunate incidents and to this day, the police have not taken any action to question the Venerable Thero and take him in to custody for the death of three persons, injury to hundreds, destruction of homes and livelihood of thousands of Muslims
We publish below the letters in full;
Letter to Minister of Minister of External Affairs GL Peris
June 27th 2014
Hon. G. L. Peris
Minister of External Affairs, Republic Building,
We wish to bring to your kind attention the blatant misinformation disseminated by Sri Lanka’s permanent mission in Geneva, Switzerland, with regard to the recent unfortunate incidents in the South Western part of the country. It is unfortunate that the suffering and destruction caused to the Muslim population have been disregarded and the gravity of the situation has been distorted for political purposes.
We wish to place on record that fabricated charges were leveled against the Muslim youth who were part of the conflict with the driver of a Buddhist monk which resulted in the entire Muslim community coming under attack by Buddhist mobs, incited by the inflammatory hate speech of Venerable Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara Thero. To this day, the police have not taken any action to question the Venerable Thero and take him in to custody for the death of three persons, injury to hundreds, destruction of homes and livelihood of thousands of Muslims which caused the loss of hundreds of millions of rupees due to unchecked arson, looting and theft.
The report presented by Ms. Manisha Gunasekera, Deputy Permanent Representative gives figures of casualties that are ridiculous to say the least. She, like the Inspector General of Police is implying that the Muslims were the cause of the violence as they have cast the first stone when the procession was allowed to go through a Muslim village. We have video evidence to the contrary, which we could present to you if you wish.
Muslim civil society and religious leadership handed over a letter on the morning of 15th June to the IGP and the Senior DIG Mr. Anura Senanayake clearly stating that the meeting called by the Bodu Bala Sena and Sihala Ravaya to teach a lesson to the “Marakalayas” as per attached Facebook poster could ignite violence against Muslims. Assurances were given that law and order would be maintained, but the police failed to protect the lives and property of the Muslim population.
It appears that the statement made in Geneva is very similar to the anti Muslim statements made for local consumption by certain vested interests. This complicity while it cannot be overlooked would only further erode the negative opinion among the international community of our failure to address minority issues and human rights.
We do not understand the reasons for accusing the Muslim community for the incident in an international forum when what one would have expected is an assurance that such ugly incidents would be prevented and action taken to hold the offenders accountable for their deeds. It seems that the Geneva statement has missed out on a golden opportunity to state our position against violence and hate campaigns in Sri Lanka.
Thanking you, Yours sincerely,
Letter to Inspector General of Police
June, 27th 2014
The Inspector General of Police Sri Lanka Police
Aluthgama Fiasco and thereafter
We wish to bring the following concerns to your attention and shall appreciate a meeting to discuss same.
1. Violence has continued even after the Aluthgama incident and notably the NoLimit shopping premises in Panadura had suffered damage due to a fire. We urge you to take immediate measures to investigate this matter and apprehend the offenders and take preventive action against any such incidents.
2. We fear that escalation of violence will cause further loss to property, lives and tarnish the image of the country which is desperately trying to claw back into normalcy. We would all have to suffer the moral and economic consequences of continued violence which we hope will not occur.
3. We are concerned that the root causes to the problems related to the attacks on the Muslim community and other minorities has not been addressed and appropriate action taken to enforce justice.
4. We are alarmed that mobs instigated by a small group of extremists have been allowed to murder, terrorize, loot properties and cause arson with impunity. It is regrettable that all of the damage, destruction and murders took place while the curfew imposed by the government was in effect. The Muslims in the area claim that the curfew was imposed only to keep the Muslims indoors while the mobs could be allowed to cause maximum damage with impunity.
5. We are very surprised that your statement made to the media had blamed a few Muslim persons for the Aluthgama incident, while no reference was made to the real offenders. While, it would have been advisable in your capacity as IGP not to be judgmental for sake of peace, it appears that the focus of blame has been turned on the victims rather than the perpetrators of the violence. Despite the reality been to the contrary, your statement shows bias as you have singled out and highlighted the entire responsibility of the incident on the local Muslims. As you may be aware, there is ample information that the Buddhist monk was not hurt in the first incident and it was only due to some mysterious forces that he was admitted to the Nagoda Hospital even though he did not have any injuries. Also it is beyond any reason how a terrified community who sought shelter and protection inside a mosque against imminent violence would have the courage to pelt stones knowing its consequences. We would be pleased to provide you with video evidence that clearly shows who pelted the first stone.
6. It is also regrettable that the foremost role played by the terrorizing gang had been overlooked in your statement despite the fact they had come in a procession prepared to provoke and attack. It was a big lapse to allow the mob to pass through a trouble area. Furthermore how does one explain why a procession was allowed to stop opposite the Mosque and aggravate the people while the police did not take any action to stop them? It hardly needs any deduction to figure out their motive. Some people in the procession were carrying backpacks with stones in it? Your department’s intelligence could have easily found all the inciting statements from the web including posters posted (as attached) on Facebook and other on-line media calling for a rally to teach the “Marakalays” a lesson. .
7. In connection with the above, we would like to bring to your attention the letter sent to you and senior DIG Mr Anura Senanayake by us and several other Muslim organizations, requesting you to stop the meeting in Aluthgama on Sunday the 15th. We explicitly mentioned the possibility of violence against the Muslims based on the information posted on online media. Hon. Faizer Musthapha, Deputy Minister of Investment Promotions too had sent a letter to you and the Secretary, Ministry of Law and Order with the same message. Despite assurances given, we are at a loss to understand how a vehicle procession was allowed to proceed through a Muslim concentrated village after the meeting where Venerable Galabode Aththe Gnanasara spewed venom against the Muslims.
We have decided to place our serious concerns before you in order that justice will prevail irrespective of religion, ethnicity, power or position. We shall be thankful to meet with you to discuss the above.
We thank you for your kind co-operation and look forward to your firm action. Yours sincerely
CC: Major General Nanda Mallawaarachchi
Secretary to the Ministry Of Law & Order in Sri Lanka
Letter to Minister of Technology & Research Patali Champika Ranawaka
June 27th 2014
Hon. Patali Champika Ranawaka,
Minister of Technology & Research, No.408, Galle Road,
The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka is shocked and dismayed at your verbal diatribe against the Muslim religious, civil society and political leadership on mainstream and social media. We have restrained ourselves from commenting on the relentless allegations you have been hurling against the Muslims due to the positive interaction we have had with you and the Jathika Hela Urumaya. Your continued polemic on Muslims compels us to respond.
1. In one of your speeches on video on the Aluthgama violence, you claim that the Venerable monk (whose driver and a Muslim got involved in a brawl over a traffic incident) was beaten on the head with a large pole. The monk appears everywhere with no sign of any injury on his head or any other part of his body, with not even a plaster. We would like to remind you, he appears two days after the supposed attack on the monk with ‘a huge pole’. If the monk was attacked as you claim, we would be grateful if you can share the JMO’s report with us.
2. You allege that there was a mob of 3000 Muslims armed, and waiting to unleash violence on Sinhalese on the 15th of June in Aluthgama. This is a direct accusation that you are making as a member of the Cabinet, on the Police and the security forces that they have failed in their duty. This calls for an impartial investigation. We are also in possession of video evidence to the contrary , and would be please to share with if required.
3. You do not unequivocally condemn the violence by all parties on that day, which can amount to tacitly condoning the violence unleashed, and your silence as a Minister in Government in not calling for an impartial enquiry where all perpetrators are brought before the law is disappointing to all law abiding citizens of this country.
4. You allege that there are many ‘extremist’, ‘fundamentalist’ and ‘jihadist’ Muslim groups in Sri Lanka, illegally funded by foreign forces. This is a serious indictment on our State’s intelligence apparatus. This immediately calls for investigation by the State, where all such groups of any religious or political ideology, if they exist, should be thoroughly investigated, and the rule of law is upheld; we also call upon you to furnish any evidence you possess to the Authorities to carry out investigations.
5. You imply that the All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulema (ACJU) is an organization that is funded by the Wahabi movement. We wish to state that it is transparent in all its functions, and open for scrutiny by any state institution that wishes to investigate it. We wish to place on record that the Muslim community in Sri Lanka considers the ACJU as a body of religious leaders to guide the community on religious and social matters; the Muslim community considers it their right, as citizens of this country, to be led by this institution just as other communities are led by their religious leaders.
6. You insinuate that Muslim organizations, particularly naming the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) and the Shoora Council, as detrimental to the well being of our country. We wish to reiterate that the activities of these organizations are transparent and open for engagement with anyone who wishes to learn more of them.
7. You also continue to say that the members of these organizations do not function as Sri Lankans, but as Muslims. We wish to emphasize that the members of the Muslim community, including the members of these
organizations, love our country, Sri Lanka, and are patriotic as any other citizen. It is unfair of you, Sir, to insinuate that we are not.
8. You state that the Muslims are buying land and property in cities. We wish to state that any citizen of this country could do so through legal means.It is regrettable that a senior politician of your caliber has picked up the hate campaign from the bloodied hands of the Bodu Bala Sena’s Venerable Galabode Aththe Gnansara Thero. Your total misinformation campaign amounts to hate speech targeting the Muslim community, and it can have dangerous repercussions which can lead to a build up of hate and mistrust within the majority community, resulting in discrimination and violence.
We would be most grateful if you would refrain from this hate campaign and dialogue with us on any issues of concern regarding the Muslim community as we have been doing over the last several years. Your continued hate campaign will drive this country away from the progress and international recognition the country has received after a 30 year violent armed conflict. We, as equal citizens of this country affirm our commitment to work towards progress and prosperity for all in our beloved country.
Thanking you for your understanding, commitment and resolve to make peace amongst all peoples of Sri Lanka.
CC: His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa – President
Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa–Secretary Ministry of Defense