Anti-Muslim riots connected to key political party | Sunday Observer

Anti-Muslim riots connected to key political party

The recent anti-Muslim attacks in the Gampaha and Kurunegala districts that left one dead and thousands affected were orchestrated by political forces connected to a key party, the Sunday Observer reliably learns.

UPFA MP and SLFP General Secretary, Dayasiri Jayasekara made a statement yesterday at the Colombo Division DIG’s office regarding video footages that emerged on social media sites depicting his attempt to bail out six suspects allegedly engaged in the riots in Kuliyapitiya.

One footage shows MP Jayasekara speaking on the phone, surrounded by smiling police officers, reportedly at the Hettipola police station. “Mama mage jeep eke dagana ennan. Ethakota epa hari neda?’ (I will bring them in my jeep, so that bail will be given, right?), he asks.

In a separate video he was seen in the same area with the Anti-Corruption Front’s (ACF) leader Namal Kumara who was also questioned by the CID regarding his connection to the incidents.

The MP said during a press conference at the SLFP headquarters on Tuesday, May 14, a day after the riots, that he does not have any connections with those arrested and that he went to the scene to control the situation.

Meanwhile, State Minister Ranjan Ramanayaka said the National Intelligence Bureau report handed over to President Maithripala Sirisena, clearly stated that ACF’s Kumara was travelling from Hettipola to Ambalangoda, contrary to his statement to the media that he was going to Chilaw.

Ramanayaka said Kumara himself has confirmed, that he wished to be an SLPP candidate at future elections. He said Kumara had arrived at Hettipola, at the time of the riots, in a Defender jeep owned by a Kurunegala Pradeshiya Sabha SLPP councillor. Meanwhile, video evidence obtained exclusively by the Sunday Observer shows a man who appeared to be a deputy leader of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya, a supporting party of the SLPP, Madumadawa Aravinda walking close to the Minuwangoda Jumma Mosque minutes after it was attacked.

Aravinda had remained in the area for three hours and ten minutes, a member of the Minuwangoda Trade Association said.

He too denied any involvement in the riots. His excuse was that he was heading to Divulapitiya at the time, and due to a traffic congestion near the Minuwangoda bridge he had gotten off his vehicle to question about the traffic jam.

Aravinda was a key speaker at the riots in Dharga Town, Alutgama, in June 2014, ignited by the controversial Bodu Bala Sena organization. The riot claimed four lives and left 80 injured. Multiple sources who wished to remain anonymous said at least one bus carrying crowds was sent to the Minuwangoda area during the riots by a well known political figure of the SLPP.

Gampaha District UNP parliamentarian Edward Gunasekera said that a Minuwangoda Pradeshiya Sabha MP and Chairman of the Urban Council, Neil Jayasekara, had connections to the attacks. He urged the security officials to conduct an immediate probe into his allegation. Strong links connect the SLPP to the anti-Muslim riots.

Following last year’s Digana riots, that killed two, a Kundasale Pradeshiya Sabha councillor belonging to the same party, Kumara Mohottige Samantha Perera alias Araliya Samantha, was arrested for his alleged connections to the clash. The case against him is pending.

Mahason Balakaya’s Amith Weerasinghe, who has ties with Namal Kumara, was remanded till May 28 after being arrested following the recent riots.

He had been out on bail following his arrest last year for involvement in the Digana riots.

Despite several attempts by the Sunday Observer to contact SLPP Chairman Prof. G L Peiris and former Minister Basil Rajapaksa who spearheads the party, they were not available for comment.

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