TNA Leader urges Govt. to protect Muslims
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Leader and the Trincomalee District Parliamentarian, R. Sampanthan, has urged the government to protect the rights of the Muslim people in the country and to be cautious of the chauvinist elements which are trying to disturb the communal harmony.
MP R. Sampanthan made this observation in Parliament today.
The statement made by the TNA Leader, stressing on the security of the Muslims is as follows:
Muslim people have been historical inhabitants of the island, and have contributed immensely to its development for many centuries. They have their own unique customs and traditions; food and dress; and are devout adherents of a very great religion. As the cultural beneficiaries of the Islamic Golden Age which spanned the 8th to the 13th centuries, the Muslim people of Sri Lanka have scaled the heights of the whole range of human endeavour – from art and music, to medicine and law, and science, enterprise, academics, and so on.
Today however, the purveyors of hate are unleashing a bitter and spiteful campaign against the Muslim people. I do not need to recount the many acts of mob violence that have taken place in the last few months. Muslim women who choose to wear conservative religious dress have been molested and abused by strangers in broad daylight. Today, the Muslim people are fearful; anxious and hurt by the invectives surrounding them. As fellow minorities, the Tamil people feel the pain, the insecurity, the fear and the anxiety of our Muslim brothers and sisters. The relationship between the Tamils and Muslims has always been close – though sometimes strained and to our perpetual shame, though very rarely, even violent and cruel – but nevertheless always close. It must be emphasized that these extremely unfortunate events occurred only during a certain stage of the time of the armed conflict and will not recur.
Our people are too closely intertwined for one to think that it can survive the fate of the other. We are connected to each other just as we are connected to the Sinhalese, the Malays and the Burghers; but the bonds of a common language and home that holds us together cannot be broken easily. And so, when our Muslim brothers and sisters are harmed on the streets, or attacked by mobs, or have their Mosques vandalized, we cannot be unconcerned spectators.
Mr. Speaker, as the Leader of the Tamil National Alliance, I urge that the violence against the Muslim people ceases, now. I urge an end to the repulsive hate speech that we hear every day. I urge an end to the collusion of the State in this campaign of hate.
We are conscious that the vast majority of the Sinhalese Buddhist people do not condone such actions and that they would very much wish to live in peace and harmony paying due respect to the rights of the other people. As victims of the worst atrocities, we, the Tamils, have demanded that the country and the world heed our call for accountability, justice, genuine reconciliation and the guarantee of non-recurrence.
We wish to emphasize that the enforcement of law and order, and ensuring the safety and security of all the people, including the Muslim people, is primarily the responsibility of the State. Recent events have shown that the State has not discharged this responsibility in a manner beyond reproach.
We therefore call upon the government to refrain from acts of partisanship and discharge its constitutional duty to ensure that equal protection of the law be afforded to all the people in the country, including the Muslim people.