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 Post subject: Violence Against Muslims in Sri Lanka: New Chapter of Ethnic
 Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:19 pm 
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Violence Against Muslims in Sri Lanka: New Chapter of Ethnic Conflict

Since the decades of Tamil Tiger war was eradicated in 2009, Sri Lankan communities have succumbed to a new wave of ethnic conflict. The Tamil Tiger war was initiated by the separatists Tamil Tigers and was inflicted upon all the ethnicities in the island including the Tamils. Three decades of war and terror appears to have immunised the Sinhalese mistrust with Tamils. After vanquishing the decades of terror unleashed by the civil war, Tamil communities are enjoying the spirit of harmony with the Sinhalese. Albeit the relationship of Tamils with the vigilant security forces is not so cordial.

The assumption of Sinhalese Buddhists as the majority and dominant community of the island is debatable. Sinhalese Buddhists believe they are the heirs of the ancient civilisation of the island characterised with Buddhist shrines and hydraulic infrastructure. The inheritance of illustrious civilisation of the island does not bequeath the economic, social and resources security to the Sinhalese communities across the country in the twenty first century. Minorities who have born and lived in the island for centuries do not yield as aliens. Minorities own successful business enterprises, which is conspicuous in the Sinhalese towns. More Muslim enclaves are scattered across the country than the distribution of Tamil population. Sinhalese population living with Muslim enclaves feel the disparity of affluence and cultural dominance of the Muslims with their properties and mosques. Minorities whether Tamil, Muslim or Burgher are not subdued, and tend to be confrontational. However, as mentioned above, after the end of the Tamil Tiger civil war, incidents of tension between Tamils and Sinhalese have subdued, as I perceive, because the Tamil atrocities no longer occur to provoke the Sinhalese. Apparently a small faction of Sinhalese Buddhists hostile to Muslims have turned their angst towards Muslim community for pastime. Until up to the Digana violence, the Sinhalese hostilities towards Muslims were unprovoked; probably instigated by socio-economic complexes. The violence in Digana was instigated by a road rage incident committed by a Sinhalese truck driver. In return, few Muslims took the law into their hand and brutally assaulted the Sinhalese driver that ended with his death. This incident appears to be communal dynamite, under the present situation of the country.

Sinhalese Buddhists have different levels of acquaintances and relations with the minority communities. The impressions of these contacts may be cordial, neutral or confusing. Subjective opinion is not a basis for dealing with criminal violence and breach of peace in the community. What we are advocating are objective solutions. Society in Sri Lanka or anywhere else is not homogenous, and as I understand, is heterogonous, pluralistic. This applies to Sinhalese, Tamil, and Muslim communities, as well as multiracial. The traditional knowledge of Sinhalese of the history of Tamils is as invaders, and marauders of the assets of civilisation. Tamils have had an influential history in Sri Lanka for more than two millenniums. The Tamil plantation workers are also an important indigent community. Muslims have had an influential history of millennium in Sri Lanka. Muslims arrived as traders, and settled as traders. So, some Muslims continue be traders in towns and cities in Sri Lanka. The influence and the role of minority communities in the history of Sri Lanka is of academic interest and do not play a crucial part in the current social conflicts. There is no question of rights of Muslims, Tamils, and other minorities in Sri Lanka to live in peace and harmony with the majority population Sinhalese Buddhists. However, a small minority of impetuous Sinhalese Buddhists who are hostile to Muslims, promulgate grievances and allegations against Muslims and are pursuing an intolerable campaign of violence against Muslims. As a partial means of eradicating this terror precipitated upon vulnerable Muslim communities in Sri Lanka, the allegations against Muslims, whether serious or trivial should be investigated by a committee or commission with participation of representatives of both communities. Thereby canards can be dispelled, and real problems between Sinhalese Buddhists and Muslims can be mediated. All the more important is the perpetrators of communal crimes, of any ethnicity are brought to justice, and justice dispensed in spirit of the law. There is a consensus that the perpetrators and instigators of violent crimes in this ethnic conflict should be brought to justice. These two measures of reconciliation and rule of law should bring an end to the heinous behaviour that is destabilising law and order, morale and fabric of the society.


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