|The blood of the victims|
COMMUNAL VIOLENCE CANNOT BE PERMITTED – NPC
The National Peace Council is greatly distressed that five years after the end of an ethnic-based civil war, that another dimension of communal violence is opening up to cause immense suffering to innocent people. There are reports of incidents in other parts of the country, including suburbs of Colombo, in which Muslim-owned properties have been subjected to attack. This has created a climate in which those belonging to the Muslim community are living in fear not knowing where and when the next attack might be and whether they will be falling victim to it.
The police have declared curfew in the Aluthgama and Beruwela areas which has stopped the violence. The law gives the discretion to the Police to take preventive action and we welcome this action, although it has come after considerable destruction has taken place and relations between the communities has deteriorated. We draw attention to President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s statement that his government will not permit anyone to take the law into their own hands. But it is necessary to back words with actions and if anyone is not following the President’s commitment then such person or persons should be dealt with.
Despite a strong focus on defense, Sri Lanka has witnessed a gradual decline in the rule of law and an increase in levels of impunity often reportedly due to political patronage at national, provincial and local levels. This trend needs to arrested forthwith and the guilty not shielded from facing the due legal processes. We call on the government to restore the Rule of Law and failure to do so will only strengthen the convictions of those who have gone to the UN for punitive justice. We hope the truth behind the incident will be made public and the perpetrators of violence and destruction will not go free to continue with their rampage elsewhere.
The National Peace Council is an independent and non partisan organization that works towards a negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. It has a vision of a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka in which the freedom, human rights and democratic rights of all the communities are respected. The policy of the National Peace Council is determined by its Governing Council of 20 members who are drawn from diverse walks of life and belong to all the main ethnic and religious communities in the country.