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The Aluthgama Atrocities: Lessons for Religion-engagement or estrangement

Photo by Thyagi Ruwanpathirana The recent spate of senseless attacks on the Muslim community was brought about by the convergence of a chronic breakdown of law and order, manipulative politics and the sinister provocation of religious intolerance. It is to our collective shame that these trends were allowed to fester into violence and death in […]

A full frontal military assault on Mangala Samaraweera

Image courtesy Sunday Leader Late last week we witnessed the scenario where the Army spokesman, a brigadier in rank, made the unusual claim that current UNP spokesman and former Rajapakse Administration Foreign Minister, MP Mangala Samaraweera had compromised national security by alleging at a press conference, that state intelligence agencies or at least some intelligence […]

Sri Lanka redefines “curfew” in Beruwela

Lest we forget, the Police imposed a curfew in Beruwela and Aluthgama on 15th June in an effort to stop the violence against Muslims in the area. The curfew in Aluthgama was imposed at 6.45pm according to the Government’s official news portal. A news bulletin broadcast at 9pm on TV featured Police Media Spokesperson SSP […]

Ven. Wataraka Thero’s last statement before his arrest (with English subtitles)

Groundviews has already published a detailed record of the violence the BBS has meted out on Ven. Wataraka Thero, the Chief Incumbent of the Rotalawela Mahaweli Maha Viharaya in Mahiyanganaya, in the Uva province. Ven. Wataraka Thero was recently found injured and bound in a ditch near Colombo recently. The Police later claimed the injuries were self-inflicted, and […]

Elusive Economic Peace Dividend in Sri Lanka: ALL that glitters is not gold

Photo courtesy IPS Prof. N.Balakrishnan Memorial Oration delivered in Colombo on 21st June 2014 Introduction It is five years since the decisive end of the civil war in May 2009. The government’s approach to resolving the long festering ethnic conflict in the country has been reconciliation and peace through economic development. Although I do have […]

The Muslims of Sri Lanka: A community under siege?

Photo courtesy CNN June 2014 will go down in the annals of Sri Lankan history as a turning point in ethnic relations, with large scale communal violence being unleashed on a most hapless minority. This month saw the worst acts of violence targeted against the country’s second largest minority, the Muslims, since the infamous anti-Tamil […]

Some Civil Society Questions for Bodu Bala Sena (BBS)

Photo by Dinouk Colombage, Al Jazeera The Facebook (FB) group called “Buddhists Questioning Bodu Bala Sena (BQBBS)” once compiled a list of questions for BBS through a lengthy consultation period with its online members. I volunteered to mediate between BQBBS and Dilanthe Withanage of BBS to pass these questions to him to initiate a dialog. […]

Statement on Aluthgama violence by Rt. Revd Dhiloraj R. Canagasabey, Bishop of Colombo

Photo by Dinouk Colombage, Al Jazeera I am deeply perturbed and concerned at the large scale violence unleashed on members of the Muslim community last weekend (15th June 2014), in the Aluthgama, Beruwala, Dharga Town, Walpitiya and Welipenna areas. My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected in their time of sorrow. This violence […]

Did the BBS attack Vijitha Thero again?

Image courtesy BBC Venerable Watareka Vijitha Thero is a Buddhist Monk and the Chief Incumbent of the Rotalawela Mahaweli Maha Viharaya in Mahiyanganaya, in the Uva province. Vijitha Thero is also an elected member of the Mahiyangana Pradeshiya Sabha (a local government council in the Badulla district, in the Uva province), representing the ruling United […]

Aluthgama violence: Where was Sri Lanka’s President?

Photo by Dinouk Colombage, via Al Jazeera The horrible killings and destruction in Aluthgama on Sunday was blacked out by almost all mainstream media in Sri Lanka at the height of the violence and the morning after. However, the violence was in detail and close to real time covered extensively over social media, leading to a documentation many times greater […]

How must we respond to religious extremism and incitement to violence?

Image from Ingulfed Do not despair. It helps to try to understand the situation as it evolves, rather than crystallise your view of it in judgment. If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you […]

The Limits of Tolerance

Photo courtesy Today There is a limit to tolerance, and this is it. In its short history as an independent republic, Sri Lanka has seen more bloodshed than seems fair. Many of our citizens have been active participants in the bombing, burning, shooting, hacking and torturing of each other, and many more have supported this both […]

Horror in Aluthgama: Their Crime, Our Shame

Photo courtesy BBC [Editors note: This was sent by the author directly to us. As a policy Groundviews does not republish what’s already gone up somewhere else on the web. Making an exception in this case because of the context in Sri Lanka at present, and the need to get as many readers engaged with […]

Aluthgama riots and deaths: Vital updates

Photo courtesy BBC Update #3: 7.05am, 176 June 2014 A video with English subtitles of the BBS speech that incited violence in Aluthgama is now on YouTube. Also uploaded to the web photos we received of the scale of violence in Aluthgama. More photos from Sri Lanka’s Foreign Correspondents Association below. Post by Foreign Correspondents' […]