Sri Lanka Brief
NewsAttacks on Muslims in the East continue unabated

Attacks on Muslims in the East continue unabated


The Muslims in Ki’n’niyaa have questioned the credibility of the ruling UPFA’s action in awarding chief minister portfolio to a Muslim politician in Ki’n’niyaa, Mr Najeeb Abdul Majeed, even while unleashing the notorious Special Task Force (STF) elite commandos on Muslim villagers from Kuddik-Karaichchi on Tuesday evening after a dispute between the SL police and Muslim villagers involved in transporting wood from a nearby forest. The STF personnel deployed had fired tear gas and opened fire threatening the villagers who protested and a tense situation prevails still in the area following the violent episode.
The chief minister of the Eastern Province hails from Ki’n’niyaa. The STF was particular in isolating and targeting the Muslim youth during the clash, Muslim leaders in Ki’n’niyaa complain. Colombo has beefed up SL military presence following the episode.

 A tense situation prevails in Ki’n’niyaa after the Special Task Force (STF) – organised under the Sri Lankan police – unleashed a vicious attack on Muslims transporting wood from a nearby forest.

The incident on Tuesday sparked off after the SL police rounded up the six bullock carts in which the Muslim villagers were transporting wood. The SL police arrested them and demanded them to surrender their licences. The bullock cart owners however had refused to handover the licences, leading to a brawl between both sides.

The incident took place in Kuddik-Karaichchi within the limits of China-Bay police division 20 km from the North of Trincomalee.

Following the incident, the STF were summoned to the area. Besides attacking the Muslims, the STF personnel have also reportedly attacked a Mosque and some shops in the area.

The bullock carts have been detained and those who travelled in the carts have also been arrested and detained in Ki’n’niyaa police station.

Meanwhile, large number of people gathered at the place of incident and raised slogans demanding that those arrested be released immediately. They also squatted on roads disrupting the traffic.

The tense situation was further aggravated when the police summoned the STF to dispel the crowds.

The STF tried to remove the people using strength but the people however remained strong in their opposition. Following this the STF personnel began attacking the people.

The assaulted people retaliated by throwing stones on the STF personnel. The increasing crowds also began surrounding the STF personnel.

The STF threatened that they would open fire if the people continued to advance and in an attempt to thwart the people opened fire into the skies.

Following this, more STF personnel assembled in the area and began to ruthlessly assault the people under the pretext of dispelling the crowds.

The STF also continued to fire into the skies and in the process destroyed a drinking-water vehicle affecting the distribution of water.

People began to run away amidst fire after the STF intensified its attacks. The STF however chased them down and attacked them. Muslim youth were nabbed and attacked. The STF commandos also destroyed some vehicles.

The streets of Ki’n’niyaa wore a deserted look after the brutal assault. Shops were shut down and people were hardly seen walking on the streets. Many of them chose to remain indoors.

After the SL Defence ministry of Colombo government was apprised of the incidents, the STF personnel were withdrawn from the area.

Leaders from Muslim Community and political representatives from Ki’n’niyaa held ‘negotiations’ with the Sri Lankan STF, Police and the SL military on the following day.

The unabashed attacks on Ki’n’niyaa Muslims have also made the people wonder whether the awarding of CM portfolio to a Muslim politician from the area was merely an act of deception by Colombo’s ruling UPFA.

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