Gintota violence: A prequel to a greater scheme
Posted on November 30th, 2017

By Faizer Shaheid Courtesy Ceylon Today

De Jure Mandate

Local Government Elections are approaching and it appears that the hidden extremist elements have once again re-emerged.

Fascist politics during election time is an age old tactic, but racism has recently proven to be a more resourceful tool. Especially when a preconceived bias has been conditioned into the minds of people, it is a flaw of democracy that is exploited by those who stand to gain.

When the attack on the Dambulla Mosque took place in 2012, it was a prequel to a greater scheme of events that would eventually compel the masses to pick a side. It tainted one party with a racist label, and painted the other as the champions against it. When matters escalated to full blown riots in 2014, well in time for the Presidential Election, most had already determined that a change was needed to subdue the violence. It was the prevailing racism at the time that determined the defeat of the then almost insurmountable Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The question may have crossed the minds of a few as to who stood to gain from such racist campaigns.

Elephant in the room

Firstly, let us address the ‘elephant in the room’. Who was responsible for the forming of the initial aggressors? It was neither Mahinda Rajapaksa nor Ranil Wickremesinghe. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera had been a politician attached to the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) since the party was launched in 2004; even contested the Parliamentary Election in 2004. The Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS) became a breakaway faction in 2012, after various dissensions in policy approaches.

The Headquarters of the BBS was situated at the Sambuddhatva Jayanthi Mandiraya. The location was declared open by the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in 2011, but that was even prior to the forming of the BBS. The intentions of the then Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa when attending the opening of Meth Sevana, the Buddhist Leadership Academy of the BBS in May 2013 continues to remain largely contentious, but such is the nature of politics.

A faction of the United National Party (UNP) had also met the BBS in 2013 to engage in peace talks. Nonetheless, any politician that chose to take on the BBS found themselves caught in crossfire. Furthermore, as more and more politicians joined in the crossfire, the BBS grew to be more and more powerful. Impunity reigned during the period and the Government of the time put forward a view that Sri Lanka was in need of legislation to curb hate-speech.

It is very much questionable, if the lawmakers of the time were ignorant of the existing laws on hate speech, but the people were unaware of the political undercurrents that remained concealed. Neither the Government nor the Opposition of the time appeared keen enough to introduce the fact that Sri Lanka did have more than sufficient laws to arrest any and all persons on the grounds of hate speech. It almost felt like it was all a political manoeuvre to deflect attention off of a more dangerous and diabolical path the Government was headed towards. A debt trap!

Challenging the BBS

As fear psychosis cast its shadow upon the people living in all parts of Sri Lanka, little to no people filed action against the BBS on grounds of hate speech. Most of those who lodged a complaint with the Police failed to see the light of day. Some very vocal members of society who advocated actively against actions of the BBS were particularly targeted politically and personally.

A prominent Muslim politico, Azath Salley, was imprisoned for allegedly spreading panic by sending out rumours while another prominent Buddhist Monk. Watareka Vijitha Thera was attacked, tied and laid in the dumps and thereafter ,arrested for allegedly staging his own abduction and attack.

BBS was being condemned by many politicians in the country and many organizations worldwide including the United Nations.

The impunity resulted in great indignation which prompted other extremist organizations such as Ravana Balaya and Sihala Raavaya to join hands on a common mission.

While impunity was growing and paranoia was spreading, only Attorney-at-Law Maithri Gunaratne had the audacity and wit to challenge Galagodaaththe Gnanasara in a Court of Law. Eventually, some of the other complaints filed by other audacious Sri Lankans found their way to the Courts.

New Hope

Following the victory of incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena in January 2015, new hope was injected into those that were fast becoming hopeless. The victory was a victory for the minorities who saw an end to the atrocities of the BBS. For some time, the extremists appeared to have hidden underneath a mound of sand, but on and off, their heads would sprout.

The cases that were filed during the pre-2015 period were finally beginning to yield rewards. However, the problems were never addressed. They were merely silenced temporarily. The noise and clutter was far less, but the wounds of the past were never healed. The Aluthgama riots in 2014 were never investigated by the Government, and no arrests were made on the complaints.

Even the High Commissioner for Human Rights had made a special mention of this during his General Assembly Report in 2015.

However, it appeared as though the racist elements were somehow automatically silenced. There was no intimidation nor any directive issued to suppress the elements. Those that ran roughshod against any and all politicians and retorted to ridicule had suddenly seemed to be rather slipshod despite the lack of any interference. Only timely reminders emerged from time to time to exhibit the kind of violence the extremists unleashed prior to the advent of the present Government. There could have been only two possibilities. Either the previous Government had provided extremist forces the power and protection, which they lacked in the present Government, or they had achieved their purpose of defeating a regime and were being preserved until the time was ripe for a fresh a flow of fascism and extremism.

While the emergence of Sinhala Nationalism appeared to be the new found cause of some of the members of the then Government, there appeared to be little benefit for the Government amid a progressive agenda. The most likely reason to support extremist elements would have been to conceal the bankruptcy that was fast becoming evident. On the other hand, the United National Party (UNP) had heaps to gain by painting the then Government with a racist brush. The rumour campaigns of the UNP Government through social media and word of mouth had emerged vastly successful too, and tremendous support arose from those who stood strongly against racism.

Seeds of Gintota riots

Signs of racism continued to be seen during various phases of this Government. However, as seen consistently when elections approach, fascist politics is almost always unleashed and the tensions would appear strong, only until the elections are over. Gintota riots were not ordinary riots. It was forced upon the people.

It was an ordinary incident that was already resolved and settled amicably before any serious incident. Therefore, when the extremists came out to play, they stood exposed. The ploys utilized in enticing the youth were exposed. Social media had proven to be an apt tool to exploit the innocent and gullible masses and pit them against one another, and the tool had proven effective.

An important feature to note in the case of racism and extremism is that it is always the poorer and lesser educated masses that are lured into such traps. It is not simply when racism and extremism beckons, but also when politicians amass a large gathering for their rallies. Many psychological researches have indicated the susceptibility of the poorer masses to trust in larger promises. It is therefore much easier to ingrain a mob mentality among a people of a poorer class in society.

The seeds of violence which were laid to rest for a while have now once more been reawakened. The wounds inflicted by racism once more lay exposed. Now all that remains is for the racist factions to regroup and unleash the terror, within.

Conclusion

Every citizen has hope in a Government, especially if he voted it to power. Every citizen has expectations in a Government. Yet we live in a democracy, and democracy is flawed. Democracy tends to elect leaders from among the ordinary masses, and leaders will want to keep ordinary masses ordinary to avoid competition. As long as the ordinary masses remain ordinary, a leader can reign supreme with less competition.

Further to this, a leader must be capable of solving problems. More importantly, for a leader to solve a problem there needs to be a problem. Therefore, if a leader wants to retain his leadership in a democracy, he must recreate problems that would showcase his work in leadership capacity.

A citizen must always remember that the politician is simply a mask. A mask that is worn by an actor for an audience; and when the mask is worn, each one fights for more screen time, but when the mask is removed all actors are friends. This is the nature of politics in today’s world. Politics is the game being played, and racism is the problem that politicians have created to showcase their skills in their respective roles.

(The writer is a political analyst and an independent researcher of laws. He holds a Postgraduate Degree in the field of Human Rights and Democratization from the University of Colombo and an Undergraduate Degree in Law from the University of Northumbria, United Kingdom)

One Response to “Gintota violence: A prequel to a greater scheme”

  1. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    SLMC aka Sri Lankan Multiplying Community mussies with their BABY MACHINE WIVES at it like there is no
    tomorrow. Traitor low life Bada udin like its predecessors bada udin of old under Sirima B, moha mad under
    traitor alugosuwa thambi mudiyanselage [email protected], ass rough under one eyed bandit, A Sad ali (not enough children
    may be cause of sadness), xxxxhim under MR, now worst mussie xxx ever bada udin, not to mention various other mussies like mari car, muji bar etc. etc. been promoting mussie
    multiplication and now even ancient Buddhist temples, wild life sanctuaries etc. etc. not safe from these mussie
    xxxx to make room for multiplication. Meanwhile traitor Sinhala deshapaluwan lick the backs of the mussies for
    their votes. What these low life traitor Sinhala deshapaluwan don’t understand is, as soon as the mussies numbers
    are high enough mussies will kick the back of the traitor. Mussies vote for the name, not the policies. Traitor low
    life Sinhala deshapaluwan don’t understand this simple truth. Always mussies in the government shows how
    crafty mussies work!

    Iran, afganisthan, pakesthan, bangladesh, maldives, malaysia, indonesia were all Buddhist countries before the
    multiplying mussies got into those countries. Then mussies bred, bred and bred with BABY MACHINE WIVES
    and outnumbered the natives,
    and in no time all the countries became mussies. Almost all of them are hellholes now. That’s what these mussies
    have in store for us. It worked in the olden days since people didn’t have any idea what is happening. Today
    this internet, tv, mobile age people get to know what is happening 1000s miles away. So the mussies multiplication
    going to end up in bloodbath soon. Stop breeding like xxxx you crafty, ungrateful mussies. Look at the Chinese
    community in Sri Lanka. Haven’t multiplied, fully integrated, you don’t even notice they are there. Mussies?
    Multiply and multiply, halal, eye sore mosques every corner to drive out non believers, every town taking over
    etc., goni billa dresses which can only be high fashion in hell etc. etc. Absolute nightmare! Yes/no? Of course
    mussies will say no with the religion of violence and fastest breeding religion.

    Go to any museum in the world and see how the two legged creatures came to being. It’s no god’s work. God is a man made
    thing and putting bum up five times a day, and firing rockets, not going to get you upward. We all know when fire a rocket you go forward. That’s how the planes work. What you doing only make you hell bound. Follow the only true religion, Buddhism, in the world and you will start thinking about other human beings, not just mussie brotherhood!

    Mussie motto:
    NO LIMIT, CHILDREN
    NO LIMIT, CHILDREN
    NO LIMIT, CHILDREN!

    Ancient Buddhist temples in the east, Kuragala etc, wild life sanctuaries like Wilpaththu etc etc not safe from the multipliers. Charles Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection explains what happens when there are too many. You
    don’t have to be Einstein to understand that since too many people means too much demand for resources;
    more schools, more houses, more jobs, more hospitals, more land, more food, etc. etc. etc. Who is going to supply
    those? God? If you go to any museum in the world, you will see there is no god. Only a chimp to show how two
    legged creatures came to being. True? Then these two legged creatures are so clever, they can make unimaginably complex things. Surely then they can make laws to discipline themselves without help from above in the form
    1:2:5, 2:1:6 etc. etc.

    Take Buddhism’s five precepts for a start.
    Refrain from
    harming living things
    taking what is not given
    sexual misconduct
    lying or gossip
    taking intoxicating substances eg drugs or drink.
    Is there any better truth than this in the world? If religions don’t regard those as sins, they are religions of convenience or what? Courts the world over punish people for committing those. Why on earth then they do that if
    those aren’t sins? Following religions of conveniences, you are only cheating yourself as a result won’t be a two
    legged creature in the next life. Sri Lanka Multiplying Community aka mussies should stop mulltiplying like to
    steal the country. Afganisthan, iran, bangladesh, pakesthan, yemen, libya, sudan etc. etc. Take your pick for Sri
    Lanka. Hypocrites! Look in the mirror to see who is to be blamed! Carry on multiplying going to end up in another
    blood bath. One set of foreigners took us to a 30 year blood bath to start catholic tigers tamil drelama. Now the
    mussies with multiplication taking us towards another. That’s sure.

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