Increasing tensions between the Sinhala and Muslim communities
Posted on March 7th, 2018

MEDIA RELEASE Mahinda Rajapaksa Former President of Sri Lanka

Several violent incidents have taken place in Digana after a Sinhala truck driver died in hospital following an assault by a group of Muslim men. The police have made some arrests, but they are yet to be formally identified as the perpetrators of this murder. The full severity of the law should brought to bear on those responsible. The government should provide adequate compensation to the family of the victim. Following the violent incidents that occurred in Digana, the body of a Muslim youth has been found in a damaged house. Thus two murders have now taken place. The government has imposed a state of emergency in the country. However, even at the time of issuing this statement, tensions have not abated completely. This is the second clash between the Sinhala and Muslim communities within a week. Just days ago there was an incident in Ampara. A few months earlier, there was the Gintota incident and several other incidents in 2017 as well.

The only one way to prevent these clashes is the strict enforcement of the law. Unrest is often generated by real or perceived police inaction in relation to a complaint. The police should respond to disputes or conflicts between different communal groups promptly and decisively. Above all, mob violence and collective punishments against uninvolved persons should be prevented at all costs. It is the task of the government to direct the police properly in handling such situations. The local and foreign forces seeking to destabilise this country are trying to engineer another 1983 style conflagration to drum up support for their constitutional reforms which seek to divide this country into several semi-independent states. I call on citizens belonging to all communities to reflect intelligently on what has been happening and to refrain from all acts of violence.

In the first few years after independence, Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim leaders ruled this country together as partners. G.G.Ponnabalam had a warm and cordial relationship with the Senanayakes. That era ended in the mid-1950s as communalism and separatism came into Northern Tamil politics. In the past, the two main political parties had Muslim leaders like A.C.S.Hameed, M.H.Mohamed, Badiudin Mohamed and Alavi Maulana who were elected to Parliament not only by Muslims but also by Sinhalese voters. During those decades, tensions between the Sinhalese and the Muslims were virtually non-existent.

But since the late 1980s a section of the Muslim population has gravitated towards communal political parties. This has made it easy for conspiratorial forces both local and foreign to inflame tensions between the Sinhalese and the Muslims by using agents provocateurs. The tension that we see now between the Sinhalese and the Muslims is a fairly recent phenomenon. Everyone will remember that such tensions did not exist until about 2012. What was started by conspirators who are now in the yahapalana government, for the purpose of dislodging my government, now appears to have taken on a life of its own and mistrust between the communities is growing by the day.

Even though there are large numbers of Tamils in the north and east, the majority of the Tamil population permanently resides outside north and east, among the majority Sinhalese. Similarly though there is a significant concentration of Muslims in the east, the vast majority of the Muslims permanently live outside the east, among Sinhalese and Tamils. What we are now experiencing is the mismatch between this demographic reality and communalist politics. The very logic of communal politics requires the portrayal of other ethnic and religious groups as enemies or rivals. Today, the situation is such that a dispute or clash between individuals belonging to different religions or ethnicities, automatically leads to a communal riot that spreads throughout the area.

Obviously this is not a situation that can be allowed to continue. There is a need to create in this country a nationalistic alliance comprising of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim leaders resembling the first post-independence government. This is not going to be an easy task given the poisonous contagion of communalism that has spread in this country over the past several decades. However on the basis of the recently concluded local government elections, I have reason to be cautiously optimistic that a window of opportunity exists to be able to turn back the tide of communalism. I intend initiating a dialogue in this regard with national minded Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim individuals and organisations in due course.

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Former President of Sri Lanka

6 Responses to “Increasing tensions between the Sinhala and Muslim communities”

  1. dingiri bandara Says:

    It is so sad to hear about the violence between the Sinhalese and the Muslims.From what we see from what is happening in the Middle East, Muslims belonging to the different sects are fighting among themselves while praying and worshiping their one and only god.
    I wonder whether it is possible for the Muslims to live in peace with people of other races and religions, especially the present day youth, encouraged by radical Imams and racist politicians allegedly financed by some Middle East countries, when they even can’t live peacefully among their fellow Muslims.
    I suppose it is politically incorrect to say that the Muslims are gradually replacing the Sinhalese from traditional Sinhalese areas. Partly the Sinhalese are to be blamed for that because they do not care and sell to any Muslim that offer more money, without realizing that there is a sinister plan to Islamise the country by gradually increasing their population and and also forming Muslim enclaves.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    The Parliament is holding Sessions today,and will vote on several important bills related to national security today.

    The Yamapalanaya will be able to STEAM ROLLER the Opposition and PASS LEGISLATION without much DISCUSSION or PROTEST because they CURRENTLY have the necessary Parliamentary VOTES.

    I am FEARFUL that the Yamapalanaya will ATTEMPT to PASS CRITICAL LEGISLATION regarding the CONSTITUTION, the ETCA Agreement, and ECONOMIC/FINANCIAL Bills DURING this PERIOD under EMERGENCY RULE!

    ANY SUCH BOONDOGGLES by the Yamapalanaya DURING THIS EMERGENCY will lead to MUCH BLOODSHED in the future. They may try to RULE the country in the NEXT 2 years under an EXTENDED EMERGENCY!

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    This is what happens when the SLFP is DIVIDED by foreign CITIZENS and foreign funded people.

    Same thing happened in 1983 after SLFP was divided in 1982 election.

    VERY SAD SITUATION IN SL. Will things ever return to normalcy????? TRUST suffered worst damage.

  4. Nimal Says:

    Three weeks ago I was in SL to attend to my elder brother’s funeral where we had 3 malanbathas, one in Colombo and two in Kandy where we hired all the chairs, cutlery and even food from my life long Muslim friends but sadly none of them ever turned up for the funeral. They only telephoned me and this is sad and they seem to drift away from the majority of us.
    I see many girls wearing Burka and I had the courage to speak to them and the impression I got them is that they are very reluctant wear them. Looks like the men folks are forcing on them. We must check to see if they are also being infiltrated by hate preachers.We must get some advise or even help from UK authorities to tackle this worldwide problem as they seem to have some control.Turky has banded these radicals imposing their dogma on their people.

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    INDEED, President Mahinda Rajapakse is DEAD on TARGET! It had occurred to me that NOT ONLY the UNP, BUT ALSO the Tamil Separatists, get a BENEFIT from DESTABILIZING the country by PITTING the Sinhala and Mulim People against each other AT THIS TIME!

    AT THIS TIME, when the UN is REVIEWING how Sri Lanka has implemented the promises that Treacherous Western Lackey Avamangala Samaraweera made in Geneva, the Muslim – Sinhala Conflict will ADD FUEL to the COMMUNAL FIRE, CONFIRMS their own ALLEGATIONS of Discrimination, and helps support the DEMANDS of the EELAMISTS for a SEPARATELY Self-Governing Region SOLELY for THEMSELVES!

    Whenever some MINORITY GROUP wants to ACQUIRE MORE POWER in Sri Lanka, they CREATE a COMMUNAL CONFLICT, and get automatic INTERNATIONAL sympathy. This has NOW BECOME a ROUTINE STRATEGY for minorities to ACQUIRE POWER & RIGHTS that go ABOVE & BEYOND the rights of the MAJORITY COMMUNITY.

    Therefore, we PATRIOTS must ASK OURSELVES, who REALLY ENGINEERED THIS CONFLICT: The UNP to stay in Power, the Tamil Separatists to STRENGTHEN their DEMAND for a SEPARATE EXISTENCE, or Muslim FANATICS who want to CONVERT Sri Lanka GRADUALLY into a Muslim Country?

    THERE is MUCH MORE to the CURRENT Communal Conflagaration than meets the EYE! The NEXT PATRIOTIC Govt (NOT the current Yamapalanaya for that would be asking the FOX to MIND the HEN HOUSE!) MUST UNDERTAKE a DETAILED IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION of this issue!

    …………………………………………………….
    MR urges people to be wary of sinister plans to divide country
    March 7, 2018, 11:18 pm

    Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday warned that some sinister forces, bent on destabilising the country, were trying to engineer another 1983 style conflagration to drum up international support for their constitutional reforms, aimed at dividing the country into several semi-independent states.

    Rajapaksa said the gravitation of a section of the Muslim population towards communal political parties had made it easy for the siniser forces to create tensions between the Sinhalese and Muslims by using agent provocateurs.

    “I call on citizens belonging to all communities to reflect intelligently on what has been happening and to refrain from

    all acts of violence”, he said.

    Following is the text of the ex-President’s statement:

    Several violent incidents have taken place in Digana after a Sinhala truck driver died in hospital following an assault by a group of Muslim men. The police have made some arrests, but they are yet to be formally identified as the perpetrators of this murder. The full severity of the law should be brought to bear on those responsible. The government should provide adequate compensation to the family of the victim. Following the violent incidents that occurred in Digana, the body of a Muslim youth has been found in a damaged house. Thus two murders have now taken place. The government has imposed a state of emergency in the country. However, even at the time of issuing this statement, tensions have not abated completely. This is the second clash between the Sinhala and Muslim communities within a week. Just days ago there was an incident in Ampara. A few months earlier, there was the Gintota incident and several other incidents in 2017 as well.

    The only one way to prevent these clashes is the strict enforcement of the law. Unrest is often generated by real or perceived police inaction in relation to a complaint. The police should respond to disputes or conflicts between different communal groups promptly and decisively. Above all, mob violence and collective punishments against uninvolved persons should be prevented at all costs. It is the task of the government to direct the police properly in handling such situations. The local and foreign forces seeking to destabilise this country are trying to engineer another 1983 style conflagration to drum up support for their constitutional reforms which seek to divide this country into several semi-independent states. I call on citizens belonging to all communities to reflect intelligently on what has been happening and to refrain from all acts of violence.

    In the first few years after independence, Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim leaders ruled this country together as partners. G.G. Ponnabalam had a warm and cordial relationship with the Senanayakes. That era ended in the mid-1950s as communalism and separatism came into Northern Tamil politics. In the past, the two main political parties had Muslim leaders like A.C.S. Hameed, M.H. Mohamed, Badiudin Mohamed and Alavi Moulana who were elected to Parliament not only by Muslims but also by Sinhalese voters. During those decades, tensions between the Sinhalese and the Muslims were virtually non-existent.

    But since the late 1980s a section of the Muslim population has gravitated towards communal political parties. This has made it easy for conspiratorial forces both local and foreign to inflame tensions between the Sinhalese and the Muslims by using agents provocateurs. The tension that we see now between the Sinhalese and the Muslims is a fairly recent phenomenon. Everyone will remember that such tensions did not exist until about 2012. What was started by conspirators who are now in the yahapalana government, for the purpose of dislodging my government, now appears to have taken on a life of its own and mistrust between the communities is growing by the day.

    Even though there are large numbers of Tamils in the north and east, the majority of the Tamil population permanently resides outside the north and east, among the majority Sinhalese. Similarly though there is a significant concentration of Muslims in the east, the vast majority of the Muslims permanently live outside the east, among Sinhalese and Tamils. What we are now experiencing is the mismatch between this demographic reality and communalist politics. The very logic of communal politics requires the portrayal of other ethnic and religious groups as enemies or rivals. Today, the situation is such that a dispute or clash between individuals belonging to different religions or ethnicities, automatically leads to a communal riot that spreads throughout the area.

    Obviously this is not a situation that can be allowed to continue. There is a need to create in this country a nationalistic alliance comprising Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim leaders resembling the first post-independence government. This is not going to be an easy task given the poisonous contagion of communalism that has spread in this country over the past several decades. However on the basis of the recently concluded local government elections, I have reason to be cautiously optimistic that a window of opportunity exists to be able to turn back the tide of communalism. I intend initiating a dialogue in this regard with national minded Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim individuals and organisations in due course.

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    USA,

    Patriots must ask WHO ARE THE REAL PATRIOTS and like a SWAN separating MILK from EXCRETA they must separate REAL PATRIOTS from KOTHTHU PATRIOTS.

    NO ONE should do VIOLENCE. That is illegal and NO EXCUSE for violence.

    But the crackdown on violence should NOT be a crack down on SANITY.

    When WAR HEROES were killing terrorists in ALIMANGADA WAR ZEROES were killing journalists in PAMANGADA.

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