Govt. mulls special police team to probe Ampara unrest | Sunday Observer

Govt. mulls special police team to probe Ampara unrest

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has promised Muslim Ministers in the unity Government that a special police team would be dispatched to investigate the unrest in Ampara last week, after concerns were raised about the conduct of law enforcement officials in the area during the incident.

Attacks by violent mobs caused extensive property damage and injury to at least five people following a fake controversy over ‘sterilisation pills’ connected to a local restaurant on D.S. Senananayake Veediya in Ampara town last week.

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader Rauff Hakeem, ACMC Leader Rishard Bathiudeen, Minister Kabir Hashim and former Eastern Province Chief Minister Hafees Nazeer Ahamed attended the discussion with Prime Minister Wickremesinghe at Temple Trees last evening.

IGP Pujith Jayasundera was also present.

“We told the Prime Minister during our meeting that unless the perpetrators were punished such attacks will continue,” Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen told the Sunday Observer last night.

Minister Bathiudeen said that the Muslim leaders had also urged Prime Minister Wickremesinghe to visit Ampara town and examine the damage during his visit to the East for other meetings today. “We asked him to consider a visit,” the Minister said.

People arrested by Ampara police in connection with the violence had all been given bail through courts, without objection by the police, Minister Bathiudeen revealed. “The confidence people in the area have in the police has been broken,” he said.

The Prime Minister had promised an independent police inquiry into the violence on February 26 and 27 in Ampara, the Minister added.

In different parts of the island, different communities form the minority in an area, Minister Bathiudeen said. “In Vavuniya for instance, the Sinhalese are a minority community. In such places especially, minority communities must have faith in the police,” he insisted. The unrest was sparked by a fake conspiracy about ‘sterilisation pills’ being added to food served at a Muslim-owned restaurant in Ampara. The eatery was severely damaged in the ensuing violence and the following morning, several vehicles and a mosque were damaged in continuing violence, reports from the area said.

However, medical experts insist such a pill to cause permanent sterilisation does not exist.

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Dr U.D.P. Rathnasiri said both males and females could only be made permanently sterile through surgery. “Scientifically, there is no pill that can render its user permanently sterile,” Dr. Rathnasiri insisted.

[Racists stirring the pot for Geneva: President]

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday accused extremist elements of plotting to create unrest in the country by provoking disharmony among communities targeting the Geneva sessions set to take place in March and September this year. Addressing an event in Batticaloa, the President, while expressing his strong condemnation of the recent incidents in Ampara, called on the public to bear patience by being mindful of traitors who are hell bent on destroying the country.

“Some people are trying to paint a picture that the national coexistence and reconciliation measures being undertaken by the government are a grave national injustice. The incident that took place in Ampara a few days ago is very worrying. Irrespective of whether it is a Temple, Mosque or a Kovil, it is simply not right to attack places of religious worship,” the President asserted.

He also assured that the government will take stern action against wrongdoers without discriminating them on religious, racial or ethnic grounds.

“It is in the months of March and September that Sri Lanka makes its representations in Geneva. Therefore, these incidents are pre-planned by hardliners to purposely place the government in a difficult spot with the international community by creating unrest in the country,” he said.



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