An independent human rights watchdog has urged Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena to tackle the alleged hate crime attacks from Buddhist extremist groups targeting the country’s minority Muslim community. In a letter to Sirisena, the Human Rights Commission asked the government to fully implement the rule of law to bring the perpetrators of racial hatred to book.
The commission has urged the president “to take all the necessary actions against the instigators and perpetrators of violence and hate speech targeting the Muslim community”. Envoys of many countries, including Australia and Canada, have visited a prominent mosque here to express their solidarity with the country’s Muslims who allege that their religious places have come under hate crime attacks from Buddhist extremist groups.
The Muslim community has been disturbed by an escalation of attacks against them since mid April. Several places of religious practice and Muslim-owned businesses have been attacked, the commission said as it also complained of police inaction in tackling the situation. The commission said that it has been alarmed by the racial hatred and hate speech targeting Muslims.
Police have been criticised for not arresting a Buddhist monk who heads an extremist group, ‘Bodu Bala Sena’ or the Forces of Buddhist power. The Muslims have lodged dozens of complaints against Rev Galagodaatte Gnanasara for hate speech against the community. Police, despite a court order which prevents him from fleeing the country, have failed to arrest him so far.