External Affairs

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Takes Steps Against Attacks on Muslims

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe. Credits: AFP

Colombo: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has directed the police to take action against those involved in the recent spate of attacks against the Muslim community in the Buddhist-majority country.

“The police has taken action to arrest some of them and produce them in court. Further action will be continued,” Wickremesinghe said.

The Sri Lankan premier said the Cabinet had decided yesterday to condemn the violence against the Muslim community.

“We are deeply concerned by the recent incidents of violence targeting places of religious worship, shops and business enterprises and houses. We denounce in the strongest terms these acts of violence and hatred, including hate speech by certain individuals and groups aimed and inciting violence,” a statement released by the Cabinet said.

The minority Muslim community has been complaining of increasing attacks against them. Since mid-April over 30 such incidents had been recorded.

Muslims, who account for around 9% of Sri Lanka’s population of 21 million, have blamed the attacks on the Body Bala Sena, or Forces of Buddhist power, an organisation that says the spread of Islam threatens Buddhism as the dominant religion.

The police this week made three arrests after charges that they had turned a blind eye to the incidents purportedly carried out by the BBS.

“Police has not neglected their duties, they are proceeding,” Wickremesinghe said.

However, the BBS leader Galagodaatte Gnanasara remains at large despite a police hunt for his arrest over his responsibility to attacks against the Muslims.

Yesterday, he had filed a petition in the Supreme Court to prevent his arrest.

Gnanasara is facing contempt of court charges. His failure to attend court is currently being probed as he had cited medical reasons and death threats against him for his failure to attend court.