BBS claims no hand in deadly mob attacks

Tuesday, 17 June 2014 00:52 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Waruni Paranagamage The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) yesterday disassociated itself from the mob attacks in Aluthgama and Beruwala on Sunday, but urged the Government to intervene alleging that extremist elements were fanning tensions and rumours. “The violent clashes in the Aluthgama and Beruwala areas are a direct result of the false information propagated by certain extremist quarters,” claimed BBS General Secretary Galagodaaththe Gnanasara at a press conference. The Thero also claimed that the incidents that took place in Aluthgama and Beruwala were inaccurately reported, especially by the Tamil media. “We are deeply ashamed that the media together with certain Muslim extremist parties reported false information regarding this incident, giving a false idea of what happened to the rest of the world,” he stated. Gnanasara Thero claimed that the BBS met Defence Ministry officials yesterday to discuss the incident, with invitations extended to Muslim representatives as well. However, he said that only one representative from the Muslim community participated in the meeting. Speaking about the response to the situation by the Police, he claimed that they responded naïvely. “They see the Sinhala-Muslim clash as racism. If a Sinhalese person quarrels with another Sinhalese person, they see it as just a quarrel, but if a Sinhalese person clashes with a Tamil or Muslim, it is seen as a clash based on racism.” Claiming that the BBS had no part in the violence that took place in Aluthgama and Beruwala, he said that people were paranoid due to the false information being reported, adding that the BBS only intervened, on the request of the people, to help calm the atmosphere. “Muslim people assaulted Sinhalese people and Sinhalese people assaulted Muslims. Both these parties are wrong. I request the public to act cautiously and wisely during this time.” BBS supporters around the island intended on protesting against an incident in which a Buddhist monk and his driver were allegedly assaulted in Dharga Town.  However, the BBS claims that it contacted its supporters in Badulla and Anuradhapura, managing to calm the situation, adding that those loyal to them did not participate in any protests thereafter. The BBS General Secretary claimed that the group together with the Buddhist monk who was allegedly assaulted in Dharga Town had managed to calm the protesters in the area, but two vehicles escorting the monk back to his temple had been blockaded and pelted with stones from a neighbouring mosque. “There are Muslim leaders who genuinely love the Sinhalese people. This clash was not between the Sinhalese and Muslims but between the Sinhalese and Muslim extremists. We request the Government to intervene in this situation and solve the problems between the Sinhala and Muslim communities. We request the Muslim leaders too to control their people,” claimed Gnanasara. The BBS stated that no Buddhist monks were killed during the clashes but two of them had received minor injuries. Around 40 persons were injured in the clashes while no mosques were attacked in the incident, it further claimed. Gnanasara added that Muslim-Sinhala clashes occurred in Kalutara, Hasalaka, Badulla and Kurunegala as well, but the BBS acted with restraint in this situation as well as in those situations.