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Sri Lankan Muslims describe

brutal communal violence

By our reporters
26 June 2014
World Socialist Web Site reporters this week visited the Sri Lanka coastal town of
Aluthgama, 60 kilometres from Colombo, where Buddhist etremist thugs have
attacked the !uslim communit"# $he communal violence was whipped up b" an anti%
!uslim meeting organised b" Bodu Bala Sena &BBS', or Buddhist Brigade, in
Aluthgama on (une )*#
BBS secretar" +alagoda Aththe +nanasara, a Buddhist monk, made a venomous
speech against !uslims, declaring it would be the ,end of them if an" of them laid a
finger on an" Sinhalese#- After the meeting, mobs went on the rampage, looting and
burning !uslim%owned houses and businesses, killing two !uslims and a $amil, and
in.uring around 60 people# $he thugs continued their violence while securit" forces
deplo"ed b" the government looked the other wa"#
When the WSWS reporting team visited the area, armed police commandos and other
police could be seen patrolling# $here were houses burnt to ashes, broken windows,
ruined $/ sets, damaged domestic appliances and furniture, and burnt%out vehicles#
0eople were still fearful and angr"# We spoke to families outside their damaged and
destro"ed homes in Seenawatta, one of the worst affected areas#
Hidaya outside her damaged home
1plaining her predicament, !ohamed 2ida"a raised both hands to the sk"# ,See what
the" have done,- she said# ,3or nine da"s we spent the nights at the (umma !os4ue
in fear of our lives# We came back in the da" time to salvage what little is left here#-
After the first attack on (une )*, she eplained, Sinhalese thugs made three further
attempts to attack Seenawatta, where the Sinhala and !uslim communities have long
lived together# Some Sinhala residents intervened to protect their !uslim neighbours
from the mobs# 2owever, on following da", the thugs managed to burn down several
!uslim houses#
2ida"a, a cancer patient, has lived in Seenawatta since )56) with fellow Sinhala
villagers without an" trouble# She had never epected such an attack# When thugs
broke into her house, she was alone# She was hiding behind the toilet pra"ing, while
the" looted and damaged her house#
Fire damaged house
L#W# 3au7ia, 86, a teacher at 9harga $own School, eplained: ,;ews came that a
procession was coming and we hurriedl" collected food <to serve the participants=# We
saw a "oung crowd at the temple about > pm but thought the" were devotees# A truck
approached the temple and some crates and cans were unloaded# 0eople started
running awa", sa"ing stones were being thrown# We also ran awa"#
Coming back, we saw our house in flames# $his was an organised act# !" son and ?
tried to douse the flames# ?n the night we went to the mos4ue and a Sinhala friend
called to sa" that our house was being looted# $he roadwa" to the village was blocked#
We asked for police protection# $he" said the" couldn@t help, as we were the culprits#-
!an" !uslim children, including 3au7ia@s son, are still not going to school out of fear#
Anl" )* percent of the teaching staff has reported for dut"#
A "oung housewife pointed to empt" patrol cans inside her house and eplained how a
Sinhalese neighbour prevented the torching of her house b" snatching a bo of
matches from a thug# ,? am so sure those mobsters are outsiders and not from the
village,- she said#
At the (umma !os4ue, representatives of a committee
formed to look after displaced families, eplained the
situation# $he" said ),B*6 people from B06 families are
taking refuge in the mos4ue, including C0 infants, B6*
children, 86) women and 8>0 men# Averall, )5 businesses
and )* houses have been completel" destro"ed and
another 6C houses partiall" damaged#
A committee representative criticised the government for
,not taking an" measures to assist those displaced,-
adding: ,$here are onl" two toilets in the mos4ue and
those are now spilling over# Although the public health
inspectors were informed, so far no redress has been
provided#- $he representative warned about the danger of
a diarrhoea epidemic and complained that no government
doctors were available, onl" private medical practitioners#
$he two !uslims killed in the (une )* attacks reportedl" died from head in.uries#
2owever, (ustice !inister Dauf 2akeem, the leader of the Sri Lanka !uslim Congress
&SL!C', has implied that both were shot dead b" securit" forces and that government
authorities are fabricating medical reports to hide what took place#
2akeem told Ce"lon $oda" on (une BB: ,? can produce evidence of used bullets where
the two were in.ured# ? went to the spot# $he bullets weren@t fired b" civilians# 2owever,
the autops" report has indicated that the deaths were due to serious cut in.uries# $hat
is a preposterous situation if medical reports are being fabricated#-
As SL!C leader, 2akeem is under pressure from the !uslim communit" to defend its
members# 2e initiall" threatened to resign from the government but backed awa",
claiming he could do more good inside the cabinet#
Eet 0resident !ahinda Da.apakse and other government leaders have been bus"
whitewashing the role of the BBS in organising the anti%!uslim rampage and covering
up their own patronage of the Buddhist etremist organisation#
BBS secretar" +nanasara is free to hold media conferences and events in Colombo
and other cities, den"ing an" connection to the (une )* attacks# An $uesda", the BBS
held an ,Adishtana 0u.a- &a religious ceremon"' at the 9alada !aligawa, or $emple of
the $ooth, in Fand" where +nanasara again denied an" responsibilit"#
Burnt out home in
+nanasara@s abilit" to roam around and make his false claims unchallenged is a
warning that the BBS is preparing further communal violence against !uslims, and
other ethnic and religious minorities, with the government@s blessings#
3aced with growing opposition from workers, peasants and students to its austerit"
measures, the Da.apakse government is encouraging the BBS and other Sinhala%
Buddhist etremist organisations to divide and confuse working people# ?t will also use
these reactionar" forces against the struggles of workers and "outh#