Fear that ethnic tensions may be sparked in Mawanella
ECONOMYNEXT- Activists fear that unknown persons are attempting to stoke ethnic tensions in Mawanella similar to the incident in December 2018 by linking stolen explosives from a quarry to stones pelted at a glass enclosure of a Buddha statue in the area earlier this week.
Hilmy Ahamed, Vice President of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka told EconomyNext that when media carries such reports, there will be pressure on both the Sinhala and Muslim community members living in Mawanella because of the 2018 incident.
He said that the Sinhalese are very suspicious that it may be the work of the Muslims and Muslims are worried that the Sinhalese will react to this and may cause some kind of violence or rioting.
He said that the Police had found one of the workers in the quarry responsible for the stolen explosives and that he was arrested in Peradeniya.
He also said that people in the area where the stones were pelted at the glass enclosure of the Buddha statue had said that it is most likely to be a vagrant who had tried to break the glass and take the money off the till box.
The statue itself was not damaged in the alleged attack.
“We, of course, feel that this has being done by somebody to link the loss of these explosives in the quarry and target it against the Muslim as it happened in 2018,” he said.
Police had started investigations into an incident where a stone has been pelted at the glass enclosure of Dadimunda Devalaya in Mawanella on December 28.
Speaking to EconomyNext the Mawanella Police OIC said the investigations are being conducted regarding the incident and refused to disclose information about the findings of the probe.
He also said that a person was arrested regarding the stolen explosives from the quarry and handed over to the CID as they were the ones doing the investigations but refused to disclose further details.
On December 26 2018, a group of Islamist extremists vandalised several Buddha statues in the Hingula area, and it was later revealed that a group, including the National Thowheed Jama’ath Leader Zaharan Hashim, was responsible for the attacks.
Zaharan is believed to be the mastermind behind the Easter Sunday attacks which killed more than 250 people in three churches and several hotels in Colombo and Batticaloa. Zaharan was himself one of the suicide bombers. (Colombo/Dec30/2020)
Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe