ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan opposition lawmaker Anura Kumara Dissanayake has expressed fears of a “bloody plot” to create discord between communities in an attempt to distract public attention from the multiple crises facing the country is confronted.
The warning signs (‘kasa kaarayo’, or the whip crackers that announce the arrival of a Buddhist perahera re-enactment) which had taken center stage in the run-up to the 2019 presidential election are back in the spotlight after prolonged silence, Dissanayake said.
“The kasa kaarayo who were hiding come back to the foreground. Remember, before the presidential elections, it was these kasa kaarayo who wore wanda (forced sterilization) doctors, wanda food and wanda clothes on the back. These people were nowhere to be found. But suddenly, are they back? Why?”
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) leader was referring to unsubstantiated and racist allegations that had targeted the country’s Muslim minority in the years following the war with separatist Tamil Tigers. Hard-line groups, some led by prominent monks, were at the forefront of spreading fears of Islamic expansionism and even total takeover of the Sinhala Buddhist state. Stories have spread, especially on social media, of alleged halalifications of fast food restaurants containing substances that selectively render Sinhala customers in Muslim-owned restaurants sterile. In 2019, in the months leading up to the presidential election, a Muslim doctor at Kurunegala University Hospital was controversially accused of performing surgical sterilizations on women without their consent.
To date, no credible evidence has been presented to substantiate these claims, although an increasingly visible impact of the Arabization of the country’s Muslim population, particularly in the east of the island, has occurred. gave an air of legitimacy to some of these fears.
Recent anti-Muslim sentiment in Sri Lanka has also at times led to incidents of violence against the community, the most recent being following the 2019 Easter attacks by Islamist terrorists.
“There was an attack in this country which helped bring the current administration to power. Suspicion rises in society to the point of even wondering if the attack was not a plot for them to come to power, ”said Dissanayake.
The Easter attacks, which left 269 dead and more than 500 injured, mainly targeted the Catholic and Christian minorities of Sri Lanka, with whom the majority Buddhist population maintained largely cordial relations, unless there were sometimes sharp differences over what these are called unethical conversions. Relations between the two communities heated up further in the wake of the April 2019 tragedy, with Buddhists rallying to Archbishop Malcolm, Cardinal Ranjith’s repeated calls for justice for the victims.
Dissanayake said the Catholic community’s grief over the lack of such justice is reflected in Cardinal Ranjith’s recent statements, which have taken on an anti-establishment flavor. Ranjith has increasingly criticized what he claims to be the government’s inability to find the alleged “brains” for the attack, although authorities maintain that the investigations have been and continue to be thorough.
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“Certain groups are now being used to create a situation of violent, charged conflict, targeting Catholic priests, in particular the Cardinal, and Catholics in general,” said the National People’s Power (NPP) parliamentarian.
“We can see that the failed leader is trying to create another such conflict. There are therefore reasonable suspicions as to whether this government is engaged in a bloody conspiracy, ”he added.
The Catholic Church recently called for an investigation into an allegation attributed to a controversial Buddhist monk of an imminent terrorist attack, while also denying a claim by the same monk that he warned the church leader in 2017 of an imminent terrorist attack. imminent attack.
The Archdiocese of Colombo, in a statement released on September 16, said the allegations, made by Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Secretary General Galgoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero, in a TV interview, were serious enough to justify investigation.
According to the statement, the monk claimed he had information about a terrorist plot similar to the Easter Sunday 2019 attacks that left 269 dead and more than 500 injured. The monk also said he knew who was behind the planned attack and where they were. , and that he had previously written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa about his findings.
However, the archdiocese said, it is not clear whether any action has been taken by the authorities on the basis of this information. The statement said that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) is obliged to arrest anyone linked to the alleged plot.
“We call on the IGP to take note of Ven Gnanasara Thero’s revelation of an imminent terrorist attack and to take immediate action to prevent it,” the statement said.
The archdiocese then denied a claim by Gnanasara Thero that he warned the cardinal of an imminent attack on the Catholic community as early as 2017.
The monk had only spoken to the cardinal of “Islamic expansionism”, he said.
“We categorically state that until after the Easter attack, defense authorities, intelligence agencies, police, Ven Gnansara Thro or anyone else warned His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith of an impending attack on the Catholic community. “
Related: Sri Lanka Catholic Church Wants Controversial Monk Allegations Investigated
Earlier this week, a group of Buddhist monks also warned of attempts to cause discord between communities, particularly targeting Catholics.
Dissanaayake, meanwhile, wonders if a plot is being hatched to distract attention from the various crises that have engulfed the country, from COVID-19 to a crippling currency shortage.
“People wonder if they are trying something again when the economy is collapsing, when they have no solutions to the problems. The population must be on the alert. We must not allow this country to fall victim to such a bloody plot again, ”he said. (Colombo / Sep 30/2021)