Sri Lanka PM says police instructed to act against anti-Muslim nationalists
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers had instructed police to implement the law against nationalists who were burnings mosques and Muslim shops, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said, amid reports of obstruction of justice by a minister.
"Police have been asked to conduct a broad probe on attacks on several mosques and Muslim-owned shops," Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said in a special statement.
"Anyone who engages in violence against any religion or community, will be investigated, arrested and brought before court."
There have been rising concerns over the impunity with which violence was carried out by Buddhist nationalists in recent months, with no action by the police.
"Anyone who denigrates other religons and cultures, cannot be a true Sri Lankan," Prime Minister Wickremasinghe said.
Activists have protested that Galaboda Atthee Gnanasaara, a Bhuddist monks who heads Bodu Bala Sena (Army of Bhuddist Force), a far-right nationalist group, and is wanted by courts has not yet been arrested while concerns have been raised that he is being protected by a minister of the current administration.
Police arrested the first suspects in nationalist arson attacks last week.
Anti-minority nationalist hate started to spread widely in Sri Lanka in the late 19th century, a few decades after the phenomenon started to gain traction in Eastern Europe.
Like Nazis in Germany, who stopped fellow Germans from buying goods from Jewish shops or taking treatment from Jewish doctors, Sri Lankan nationalists have tried to stop people from patronising Muslim-owned shops.