Police charge 22 under ICCPR For Minuwangoda racial riots
Police are charging 22 persons under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights Act for the racial riots which swept through Minuwangoda last week.
Organised gangs rampaged through the town on May 13 totally destroying 28 shops and damaging many more.
In all police have recorded 78 complaints from the public for property damage from that day’s riots.
They set fire to several buildings and as the Fire Brigade ran out of water the blaze spread devouring more shops and businesses.
Inspector Sampath Perera of the Minuwangoda Police said that in all 52 men had been arrested.
Thirty of them who were charged under conventional law were released on bail today, he confirmed.
Those charged under the ICCPR Act can apply for bail only from the High Court.
Gangs were highly organised
According to eyewitnesses interviewed by RepublicNext the attacks began at the Fawz Hotel, a landmark Muslim eatery that has been in the town for decades.
At first, the attackers who seemed like teenagers had thrown stones and then robbed the cashier of the takings in the till.
A little later a bigger mob, some say numbering around 500 persons, who were joined by townspeople began an all out attack.
Fawz hotel co-owner Tuan Hisham says as they watched, the entire restaurant was trashed.
“They were so agitated that when they ran out of stones to throw, they threw sand at the building,” he told RepublicNext.
He added that some of the attackers were people in the town who were customers.
“I can’t imagine how they can behave like this towards us,” he added.
Hisham’s family SUV that was parked outside was also destroyed.
The mob then moved to the Jummah Mosque about a kilometer away.
There they tried to break down the gate but failed to do so.
Maulvi M M Sabry says the crowd was “highly organised.”
“They brought stones, granite chunks, which cannot be found anywhere in Minuwangoda town” he pointed out.
Meanwhile another group allegedly went around the setting fire to Muslim owned businesses.
Some of these attacks had taken place after curfew was declared, residents said.
“The mob was too big for the police to deal with,” they observed.
The attacks ceased later in the night when the Army was deployed.