Pro Mahinda groups are now on a desperate mission to turn every minor brawl into a Sinhala-Muslim or Sinhala-Tamil clash
Sri Lankan police arrested 19 people after a clash between “majority Buddhist extremists” and minority Muslim communities in which four people were injured, a spokesman said on Saturday.
Tension has been growing between the two communities this year, with some hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam and vandalising Buddhist archaeological sites.
Some Buddhists nationalists have also protested against the presence in Sri Lanka of Muslim asylum seekers from mostly Buddhist Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority.
Police said the late Friday violence in the southern coastal town of Ginthota was triggered by rumours and fake messages on social media.
“This was a clash between a small fraction of extremists in the both ethnic groups,” police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said and one of those arrested was a Buddhist woman who falsely spread news that Muslims were about to attack a Buddhist temple. Police have decided to arrest those who have been spreading false messages and rumours on social media.Later police said all 19 suspects have been remanded until Nov. 30 and a local curfew had been imposed in the clash area.
Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayaka said “some political groups are now on a desperate mission to turn this minor brawl into a Sinhala-Muslim clash”. “I urge the public not to be misled by their false propaganda,” he said.
It is suspected that he was accusing Former President Mahinda Rajapaksha who is associated to Sinhala Buddhist extrimist groups. When Mahinda and his family were in power they used the Buddhist extremists racist card to gain the Majority votes. This is because Buddhists make up about 70 percent of Sri Lanka’s population of 21 million, compared with about 9 percent for Muslims. In 2014, when Mahinda ruled three Muslims were killed in riots stirred up by hardline Buddhist groups.
The Local election is scheduled for February 2018 and the Mahinda group in opposition is desperate to bring a Sinhala-Muslim clash before the election so that they can gain the votes of Sinhala Buddhists. Mahinda is associated to Sinhala Buddhist extremists groups.
But the Pakistan and Iran, known extremist Muslim countries supported Mahinda during these period and are still helping Sri Lanka to cover up the war crimes done by his army in his period.
President Maithripala Sirisena’s government, after coming under fire from rights groups and diplomats for not doing enough to crack down on hardline Buddhist groups, acted against anti-Muslim attackers in June this year. That response came after more than 20 attacks on Muslims, including arson at Muslim-owned businesses and petrol-bomb attacks on mosques, were recorded in two months.