It all began with the death of a 41-year-old Sinhalese Buddhist Lorry driver in a town near the cultural city of Kandy, called Digana. It was carried out by Muslim thugs in Digana, and this outraged Sinhalese mobs into mass action against the Muslims.
The riots started getting out of hand with a state of emergency declared on the 6th of March, fearing sentiments against Muslims could become ugly. Muslim are around 8% in the country’s total population of 21 million and are the biggest traders of the country.
The Sinhalese Buddhists have been holding on to anti-Muslim feelings, as they are ones who fear minorities growing. Fundamentalist Buddhist groups such as the Bodu Bala Sena and the Ravana Balaya promote Sri Lanka only for Sinhalese.
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This is not the first time such riots against the Muslims have occurred. Even in Ampara Sinhalese destroyed Muslim businesses following rumors that Muslim eateries were mixing pills in their food to make the Sinhalese impotent.
Communal separatism starts off from childhood in Sri Lanka with schools built according to Religion. Tamils study in Hindu schools, Muslims study in Islamic Schools, Sinhalese in Buddhist Schools, and the Catholics in Catholic schools. This already gives the child the differences of culture when it should all be about unity.
The Buddhists faced the same rift with Tamils for 25 years, which finally ended with a lot of bloodshed and tears. Sri Lanka should learn from the past. Popular Cricketers have come out to speak about Sri Lanka having to learn from their past.
Kumar Sangakkara Tweeted:
“No one in Sri Lanka can be marginalized or threatened or harmed due to their ethnicity or religion. We are One Country and One people. Love, trust, and acceptance should be our common mantra. No place for racism and violence. STOP. Stand together and stand strong.”
Mahela Jayawardena Tweeted:
“I strongly condemn the recent acts of violence & everyone involved must be brought to justice regardless of race/ religion or ethnicity. I grew up in a civil war which lasted 25 years and doesn’t want the next generation to go through that.”
Sanath Jayasuriya Tweeted:
“Disgusting and sickening to see the acts of violence in Sri Lanka. I condemn strongly and to bring the involved culprits to justice. I request people of Sri Lanka to be wise and stay together through these tough times.”