The attacks on the Muslim community in Sri Lanka after the Easter Sunday bombings, which killed 257 people last month, was a creation of “political terrorists” in the opposition, the country’s National Integration Minister Mano Ganesan said Thursday.
At least one Muslim man was killed and dozens of shops and mosques were destroyed in communal violence in some districts in Sri Lanka weeks after the bombing of four hotels and three churches on April 21.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Ganesan said the situation was now under control and integration between communities had not been damaged.
“Since there had been integration within communities, the country did not go up in flames immediately on the same day of the attack… The commotion against the innocent Muslim community was the creation of political terrorists who are in the opposition in Sri Lanka,” he said.
“The riots did not start on April 21. People were angry and emotional… but they were able to identify the difference between innocent people and terrorists. Why did it take so much time? Just because it is the work of political opponents of the government of Sri Lanka.”
It was reported that India had passed specific intelligence to Sri Lankan authorities in April, ahead of the bombings, that a terrorist attack was imminent. Ganesan said security forces had failed in using the information they received. “Even though our security apparatus failed to make use of the warning, once the bombs went off, within hours our forces were able to approach and round up the hideout of terrorists in Colombo,” he said.
Ganesan arrived in New Delhi Thursday with fellow ministers and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony.
He said said the delegation would meet BJP leaders over lunch Friday to congratulate them on their victory and have a discussion. “Two days ago, we passed a Cabinet paper about the eastern terminal of Colombo Port being jointly developed by Sri Lanka, India and Japan… So, I think we have come here with a positive message for PM Modi,” Ganesan said.