| by Vickramabahu Karunaratne
( June 28, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Government tries hard to show that the problem of Sinhala chauvinist violence against Muslims is under control. In fact they say that an independent investigation will be carried out to find out the real leaders of this event, if such a conspiracy was there! All these may satisfy the Muslim and Tamil bourgeoisie who are tied to the economic policies of the government. But the oppressed in the country will see that, at the end of the day, Mahinda regime has achieved what they wanted through this bloody calamity, which struck the innocent Muslim masses. Even the cabinet minister Hakim arrived at the correct deduction, when he said that, he suspects a hand within the government leadership was working behind this organised attack on Muslims. While the government has its own ulterior motives within this barbaric episode, UNP has avoided any political mobilization. Do they believe that this kind of racism will naturally give them an advantage; hence inaction will any way fill their pockets? On the other hand it could be that the UNP leaders are frightened that any overt sympathy to the Muslims could affect their Sinhala support! While the UNP kept a low profile in its sympathy with the victimized Muslims, even the JVP went out of its way to come out campaigning against racism. True, it is a formal agenda where every kind of racism had been condemned for indulgence. But it is the first time for the JVP to oppose Sinhala chauvinism in action. UNP, if came out with a strong appeal for tolerance with a strict demand for punishment for those who acted suppressing given duties then things would have been different. What was necessary was to show that there is a powerfull force that can take action against arson and murder. Any way, it will be too much to expect Ranil to launch a hartal, but radicals should not be aloof to such a successful island wide hartal.
We say that a hidden hand of the government is responsible to this anti-Muslim brutality. What is the purpose of this conspiracy? What is the aim of this bloody pogrom? Firstly it was necessary to mobilize Sinhala chauvinist layers, and made them confident that the regime is prepared to push down any minority aspirations on behalf of majoritism. Secondly, message was send down thru Muslim community that they are second class citizens just like the Tamils. Thirdly, displace police as incapable and to bring Sinhala army to control Muslim areas. These are necessities of a fascistic political power. They want to show that politics will go beyond electoral campaigns and chauvinist political violence could dominate any moment throughout the country.
They have done this to Tamil areas already and they know that the military support is there in any election. Government has lost hope of gaining among the Tamils and Muslims. It is true that Minister Weerawansa countered this political deduction by raising the argument that they will not do anything to loose Muslim votes! However it is clear to any sensible person, precisely the reverse of this argument is true. At the risk of few Muslim votes Mahinda regime is trying hard to remobilize Sinhala votes by a bloody chauvinist campaign. They have realized it is the only way they could counter the mass upsurge developing in all directions. Students, workers, peasants and fishers are on the war path against loss of social welfare. The regime had to retreat before the struggles of students and others. In such a situation it is normal for rulers to resort to pogroms against minority communities. It is a standard practice tested in many countries. Also, Mahinda regime is aware that the hate campaigns carried out recently against human rights campaigners and the Tamil Diaspora did not affect the Sinhala middle classes. Hence the government selected the alternate path of launching pogroms against the Muslims.
Dharga town violence shows the involvement of the hidden iron hand of the government. While the curfew is on with police officers standing in every corner , killers armed with flaming torches , swords , clubs and other weapons roamed in crowds of hundreds, attacking women and children, killing those resisted , burning houses. Police could not do much. No shots were fired, no baton charges, nor tear gases. But we know how the police usually work; only recently innocent motorcyclist was shot down for failing to stop instantaneously. Last year several were shot down for demanding fresh water. The police so eager to keep the law and order; but in this situation did practically nothing. Result four killed, over eighty wounded, over hundred women and children lamenting in fear, and over 200 houses demolished. But we must pardon them; because they were under strict orders from above, to refrain from countering the campaign of the Bodu Bala sena. No baton charges, no dispersing demonstrations, and no use of fire arms. To all those who are howling against this exposer we put the simple question, how do you explain the complete failure of the police to stop violence, abuse and murder?