Following article based on an open letter by the authors to the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, ‘Demand for arrest of monks who resorted to violence against Rohingya refugees using hate speech’
by Kusal Perera and Anton Marcus
( September 28, 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) We do not intend going into details of the violent and inhuman protest on 26 September (2017) led by Buddhist monks against Rohingya refugees who were sheltered in a ‘safehouse’ in Mt.Lavinia by the Colombo office of the UNHRC. An incident, we are certain you are well briefed about. This racially motivated violent incident brought international disrepute and proved the government is uncertain in stopping such hate mongering violent protests when led by Buddhist monks.
Except for Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Rajitha Senaratne who in their personal capacities, were very vocal in condemning the extremist Buddhist monks and their violent racist thuggery, we are yet to see the government officially and with authority intervening in clearing doubts on the Rohingya refugee issue, the anti Muslim extremist groups have been campaigning on distorted and wrong information.
As we understand, it is the reluctance of your government in enforcing law against violent racist protesters that has allowed extremist hate campaigns to take to streets once again as they did during the Rajapaksa era. It is the reluctance of your government and the Minister for Law and Order to give clear and firm directives to the police, that has allowed the police to act in favour of violent racist protesters, as they did on 26 September, when they took a detention order against the “refugees” and shifted them to the Boossa detention centre, instead of arresting the hate mongering protesting Buddhist monks.
It is frustrating and disturbing to see total silence on the part of the government that promised law and order, democracy and good governance, in allowing law enforcement agencies to violate the rights of the refugees and avoid taking action against hate mongering violent groups who create a
social mind-set that would never allow any degree of reconciliation in this country.
We therefore demand that you immediately direct your minister in charge of law and order and the IGP to arrest those who are responsible for breach of peace, acted violently against Rohingya refugees and resorted to a hate mongering campaign against minorities, especially the Muslim community and also make a public statement to set the records straight as regards Rohingya refugees and the responsibility of the government in assisting the UNHRC in its work with refugees.
Kusal Perera is a Journalist/political critic and Anton Marcus is a Trade union leader