Sinhale campaign raises fresh fears

SinhaleIt started with vehicles having stickers saying ‘Sinhale’ but that soon spread to walls of Muslim-owned houses in Nugegoda being spray painted with the same words.

The police said they are investigating the spray painting incident and will take appropriate action on those accused of being involved.

The ‘Sinhale’ or Sinhala blood campaign is being promoted by opposition UPFA Parliamentarian Udaya Gammanpila and the Sinhale National Movement.

The campaign has drawn mixed reactions on social media with many opposing what could result in fresh tensions erupting between the Muslim and Sinhalese community.

The issue had been discussed among members of the cabinet last week and concerns were raised that the campaign may lead to communal clashes.

Human rights groups, which have been pushing for a stable and peaceful Sri Lanka where the rights of all communities are protected, have also raised concerns over the ‘Sinhale’ campaign.

“Reports of new campaigns that may seek to sow hatred and incite discrimination, hostility or even violence against minorities in Sri Lanka are deeply concerning. The past years in Sri Lanka have seen a disturbing trend where some political leaders have sought to manufacture religious tensions. This has resulted in a jump in attacks on religious minorities like Christians and Muslims. Sri Lanka’s political leaders must do more to stop this trend, not try to add fuel to the fire,” Olof Blomqvist, Press Officer Asia/Pacific at Amnesty International told The Sunday Leader.

He noted that while recently proposed legislation against hate speech was too broad and replicated language from the PTA that has in the past been used to restrict freedom of speech and punish dissent, the government of Sri Lanka needs to send a very clear message that it will not tolerate incitement to violence.

“Ending impunity for past attacks on minorities would help drive that message home,” he added.
The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka urged the government to arrest those responsible for the spray painting of the word ‘Sinhale’ on the walls of Muslim residents in Nugegoda.

President of the Muslim Council N. M. Ameen told The Sunday Leader they were monitoring the developments arising from the ‘Sinhale’ campaign.

Gammanpila meanwhile says no one can challenge the fact that Sri Lanka is ‘Sinhale’ and that even historically, pre-independence, Sri Lanka was recognized as a Sinhala nation.

The campaign has spread so fast that even some police motorbikes were seen last week carrying the ‘Sinhale’ stickers.

The Sinhale National Conference says the Tamil, Sinhala and Burger communities in Sri Lanka lived together in the past.

The Venerable Yakkalamulle Pawara Thero said that all communities accepted the Sri Lanka national flag and lived in Sri Lanka recognizing it as a Sinhala nation.

However, he claims minority political parties divided Sri Lanka from being a Sinhala nation to a nation recognizing all communities.

He said that monks had in the past fought for the nation and some even sacrificed their lives to protect the Sinhalese identity of Sri Lanka.

The Ven. Pawara Thero said that their organization will not allow the ‘uprising’ that they are taking forward to be politicized.

He said that youth in several parts of the country are supporting the campaign to protect the Sinhala nation.

Monks have in the past pushed for a Sinhala only nation and this led to violent communal clashes. The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) was the most prominent organization which led a campaign against some Muslim beliefs when the former government was in power.

However once the new government took office, the BBS went silent. The Sihala Ravaya, another group of monks who were known to be responsible for attacks on churches, has also taken a back seat after the new government came to power.

However now the emergence of the new group led by the Venerable Yakkalamulle Pawara Thera has raised fears of fresh tensions in what has been a rather peaceful atmosphere after January 8 last year. Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said that intelligence reports on the activities of those attempting to promote ‘Sinhale’ have been gathered and it has been found that a journalist was also involved.
The minister said the government has no issue with anyone campaigning against the government but there is an issue if anyone attempts to create communal clashes.

He said that stern action would be taken in the near future to prevent any attempt to destabilize the country. (Courtesy The Sunday Leader)

6 COMMENTS

  1. I can’t really blame the indigenous people from being worried about the Muslim community in their midst. Where ever Muslims settle or are there as a minority, they continually work towards changing the existing culture into a Muslim culture with Sharia Law, which eventually leads to violence. They do not assimilate and carve out areas that are like small Muslim countries within a country, which then clashes with any culture not like it. I cannot think of one country, that Muslims immigrated to, that this hasn’t happened. So, these people, who fought and died to maintain their culture have every right to be concerned about having to fight for it again.

    Here is a link from this site that shows how Muslims become a problem in this country and any country they are settled in or immigrating to: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/understanding-the-causes-of-the-sinhala-muslim-conflict-in-sri-lanka/

    The new thing is to call people, who are trying to protect their culture from being Islamicized, xenophobic. This is hateful and incorrect, since the people and their cultures are really being threatened by them and is a well founded fear, especially since Islam is not an ethnic group, but a religious one.

  2. Not only Sinhalese but tamils are also in trouble due to the attitudes of the muslims.Muslims where ever they go, they try to occupy that area and expand.The muslim organisations policy is to change Srilanka into muslim republic.The goverment should ban all the funds received from wahabists to the muslims.Also sinhslese and tamils need to boycott the muslim establishments inorder to destroy their economy.We are the one,who help them to achieve superiority.Further muslims never repect people from other faith.For them islam is the only religion and others are infidels.

  3. Truly a stupid act by a bunch of stupid people, must be stopped at any cost. We must pass laws to prevent racial and communal incitement.

  4. Sir,

    A long-standing mystery in my mind (I am an octogenarian) has at last been resolved by the kind assistance of MP Udaya Gamampila.

    I have always wondered why, in comparison to Prabakaran and his gang of thugs, who were killing & looting innocent people,( but as they were waging a self-proclaimed war, I suppose mitigating circumstances can be attributed) why the ordinary Sinhala citizen, supposedly peaceful & law-abiding, responds to any polite inquiry with a wrath & pugnaciousness that is unexplainable and totally uncalled for.

    Now I know.

    Gamampila has articulated what probably was buried deep within the psyches of the sinhala populace. Sinha Le !. Lion blood! Their blood vessels are coursing with the blood of a lion, in other words animal blood. How can one expect human qualities from such a person?

    I am aware about how this misnomer has come about….that they have symbolised & equated Prince Vijaya with a lion. This scion of a royal family in India, who was such a rascal, rapscallion & scoundrel, that his Father the king, banished him, not from the palace, not from the city, but from the country, and set him adrift, without rudder or sail, on the open sea.. I am quoting loosely from excerpts of the Mahawamsa here..

    This rapscallion drifted onto Sri Lanka shores, was welcomed with open arms by the heathens who then inhabited this island. He then took control, imprisoned & raped the reigning queen of the heathens.

    The progeny seem proud to call themselves, Sinha Le.

    I can only pity them.

    Ravi

  5. Karen, I do not think the indigenous people, the Veddhas, are taking issue at this moment. It is the earlier kallathonis – pardon the language, starting with Vijaya, are concerned about the later arrivals or the converted. This damn ‘problem’ has been going on millennia with one difference — Islam is a religion and a social system. Strong adherents to the 7th Century teachings from Arabia, especially the Wahhabis will find resistance with the other locals – the non-believers.

    But vast number of Muslim people are – and want to live- in a harmonious relationship with the other locals taking only the essence of the teaching – the brotherhood.

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