SRI LANKA - NECESSARY ACTIONS TO REBUILD HARMONY AND PEACE ON A LONG TROUBLED ISLAND
On Easter Sunday 21 April 2019, around 250 Christians celebrating the Feast of the Risen Christ and tourists relaxing in their hotels in Sri Lanka, didn't return home to their loved ones because of the bombs unleashed for mass killings. They met their untimely death by the suicide bombers who had presumably wished to ferment as much disharmony, fear and division, as well as promote their terrorist creed.
This was the dastardly murderous actions of extreme Islamist killers which should result in the apprehension of the surviving terrorists and their sponsors, as well as their indictment before the law.
However, Sri Lankan newspapers and TV are reporting that rampant Sinhala Buddhist mobs are now carrying out extensive ethnic cleansing of innocent Muslim villagers, assaulting them, killing some of them and torching their homes, mosques and business premises. It is part of their plot to drive out the minorities living in their midst,thus achieving their avowed aim of making Sri Lanka a purely Buddhist state. The world should rail against such savage extra-judicial behaviour.
Immediately after the Easter Sunday massacres and in front of the world's media, the Prime Minister confessed that he was unaware of any security warnings because he was 'not in the loop', as that was controlled by the President as commander in chief and in charge of the defence portfolio. The President too denied he had been kept in the loop! Only in Sri Lanka, would the top two national politicians have the nerve and audacity to wash their hands off any responsibilities like modern day Pontius Pilates, as they were also not aware of the prior warnings of the attacks. This wasn't a mere incident but carnage and catastrophe of mammoth proportion. Accountability for this sorry state of affairs rest wholly with those top politicians who've been fiddling whilst their country was burning!
The reconciliation and reparation processes must be urgently set in motion. The President and the Prime Minister should apologise to the affected families for their negligence. This great tragedy and the aftermath have not only exposed the nebulous government but also reinforced the fact that the government approaches these matters haphazardly. There are various factions within the government who are fighting like ferrets in a sack. While the government is divided at the top, the evil forces find fertile ground to carry out these deadly attacks.
Peace, harmony and mutual respect between the various religious minorities had been severely jeopardised by the brutal civil war and the continued failure to hold anyone to account for those well documented atrocities. It's that continued failure which has provided for the more recent ethnic cleansing. More disturbing are the increasing revelations about the role of the previous Rajapaksa regime in setting up, funding, arming and training both the Islamist and Buddhist terrorists responsible for the recent atrocities.
The absence of any coherent strategy for securing a long-term peace on that island and the resultant chaos, distrust, incompetence, maladministration and chauvinism has characterised Sri Lanka's governance over many decades.
It has deprived minorities of their due rights as equal citizens and subsequently crystallised in the total breakdown between the President and the Prime Minister, resulting in the death of hundreds of innocent lives.
The need to bring back safety and security to the whole country and conduct a swift and full investigation of the recent atrocities must not be at the expense of delaying or avoiding the full implementation of the UNHRC's 2015 resolution. These more recent terrible events further confirm that without justice, there will be no peace on that island.
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Tamil Writers Guild - Editorial Board
Source: Tamil Writers Guild, UK
Date: 18 May 2019