Groundviews

Police in Sri Lanka show their true saffron colours

Lest we forget, the Sri Lankan police, who act under the orders and protection of the Ministry of Defence, are far from doyens of impartiality.

A few weeks ago, we noted that “it is quite clear that four policemen, no more than 3 feet away from and staring directly into the face of the Buddhist “monk” who is engaged in destroying private property isn’t quite enough these days for an arrest to be made”. There is evidence, from no less than the Government’s Minister for Justice himself, that the Muslim owners of the property the “monks”destroyed were forced to withdraw their charges against the perpetrators.

Contrast this Police inaction and collusion with fascist forces with their behaviour today in Colombo, against a peaceful vigil, as clearly indicated in a Facebook page that promoted the event. Sirasa TV captures the response by the Police in grim detail.

Clearly then, in Sri Lanka today, Buddhist “monks” destroying private property are kosher, but citizens attempting to light a candle, and walk peacefully in solidarity, are fit to be physically assaulted, hurled abuse at, arrested, intimidated and brutishly dispersed.

We feature below an audio interview with a participant at the vigil, who recounts his experience and the nature of the Police intimidation,

Channelled to us by @iromip Groundviews published a live account of the vigil on Twitter. @mhmhisham, @megtegal and others were also live tweeting the proceedings, including a number of updates noting that the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and others (possibly from State Intelligence services) were ardently photographing those at the vigil. The individual below was identified by participants as someone who wasn’t part of the vigil but actively photographing those who were present for it.

Our tweets and retweets are reproduced below, and include links to several Facebook status updates as well that clearly highlight fear, concern and opposition to what is now mainstream ethno-religious extremism, condoned by Police and with complete impunity, openly supported by Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the government of Sri Lanka.

Click on each post for full text and associated media.

Update, 2.30am, 13 April 2013: A reader emailed and said that “by 8.30 Samuddha Jayanthi Mandiraya, the headquarters of the Bodu Bala Sena, had heavy army protection. Army, not police.” The peaceful vigil first congregated around the HQ of the BBS. The same reader flagged this photo of an individual, sporting a BBS t-shirt, who was also spotted taking pictures of the faces of those present for the vigil.