Political & media opportunists plotting religious clash before Vesak – PM

Politically motivated groups are attempting to sabotage the upcoming Vesak celebrations by creating a clash between religious groups, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday.

Issuing a statement to the media, Wickremesinghe said the public must be vigilant of “pseudo-patriots” and their media cohorts looking to fish in troubled waters.

“What these parties want is to create a religious clash in this country before Vesak Day. Their aim is to disrupt the celebrations. I can guarantee that they’re currently setting up the groundwork for this,” he said.

The Prime Minister accused some media organisations of distorting the truth, and charged that recent reports that he had opposed a proposal to ban the niqab were fabricated and were all part of this alleged plot to create unrest.

“The entire Cabinet endorsed the decision to ban the niqab, as proposed by Islamic leaders themselves. It was not just the general public, but some religious leaders also fell for the media’s fabrication,” said Wickremesinghe.

“This amply demonstrates the consequences of the media’s irresponsible reporting. I cannot fathom what kind of religious doctrine these media organisations adhere to, that they would willingly sabotage Vesak celebrations,” he added.

The Prime Minister went on to say that, given the seriousness of the prevailing situation, tough action will be taken against individuals and media organisations attempting to create conflicts along religious or ethnic divides.

“I urge you to consume media content with a critical approach and not rush to believe everything you see or hear,” he said.

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