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SL Journalists for Global Justice condemn communal violence


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  • Urge Govt. to ensure law and order; call on civil society to rally around a united Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan Journalists for Global Justice (SLJGJ) yesterday expressed its deep concern over what it described as “unfortunate incidents of communal violence” in Ampara and Kandy and urged the Government to ensure law and order and for civil society to rally for greater unity in the country. 

SLJGJ President Jayatilleka Silva said communal violence posed a serious threat to the peaceful co-existence of different ethnic and religious communities and destablised the country, the economy and society at large as well as bringing discredit to Sri Lanka among the other nations of the world. 

He urged the Government to take all possible steps to arrest the spread of communal or religious violence and ensure an early return to normalcy. The SLJGJ also called upon all peace-loving citizens to give all support to such efforts and not be carried away by wild rumours that may be advantageous for those who instigate violence. 

“We also earnestly appeal to civil society, its diverse organisations and the media to condemn communalism in all its manifestations and not condone communal or religious violence,” the SLJGJ said.

Silva referred to the famous quote of Napolean Bonaparte, “The world suffers a lot not because the violence of bad people but because of the silence of the good people”, and urged that it was the responsibility of all responsible citizens to ensure peace and harmony in the country. 

He warned that unless the situation was immediately arrested it would have serious consequences for the country.

“The breakdown in law and order impacts all citizens and will make Sri Lanka a failed state. The Government must act fast and people must espouse peace and coexistence,” he added.

SLJGJ Secretary Mahinda Hattaka lamented that no peace-loving citizen would condone communal violence or mobs taking the law into their own hands. 

“We have enough historic lessons of how communal violence has divided and destroyed the country in the past. We were known as the ‘killing fields’ once. The entire nation must unite to avoid a repeat,” he added.

“Several in civil society have expressed their stand but we need more to wake up from their slumber. We need a collective effort to espouse peace and harmony and ensure the Government strictly implements law and order,” Hattaka added.

The SLJGJ also urged the Government to punish those responsible for communal violence, thereby restoring confidence and trust.  SLJGJ official Ameen Izzadeen said banning social media for the greater good of the people and to quell further violence was a step in the right direction. However, he cautioned that the ban and the imposition of the emergency shouldn’t be to further any hidden agendas. Hattaka also said censorship in any form was counterproductive and must be condemned but, if needed, a temporary ban on social media may be necessary. But he emphasised the real solution was to address the root cause of recent communal violence in the larger interest of the country. 

Another SLJGJ member Latheef Farook said Digana had been one of the most peaceful places with both Sinhalese and Muslims living in harmony. 

“Violence was triggered by outside groups and I am shocked as to why the Government and law enforcement authorities didn’t prevent their entry. This is not a Sinhala-Muslim clash within the area but the work of mobs from outside,” he claimed. 

He also condemned the attack on places of worship and opined that the Government had failed in ensuring the safety of minorities. 

 

 


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