A demonstration was staged in Colombo today over the failure of the authorities to protect the citizens of Sri Lanka.
Organised by ‘52% Force’ under the title ‘Towards a Republic of humanity free of hunger, war and killing’ the demonstrators noted that the attack on 21 April which claimed the lives of over 250 and injured a large number, caused fear in the entire society.
“Despite having received information about an attack and having the ability to protect those lives, the fact that the State was unable to ensure and guarantee the people’s safety shows its nudity and failure,” the 52% Force said in a statement released at the demonstration.
The 52% Force said that a majority of those in the Government and the Opposition knew about the attack.
“Muslim leaders had provided information on those behind the attack to former Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa in 2014 and present State Minister of Defence, Ruwan Wijewardene in 2015. The primary responsibility of the State is to provide protection to its citizens. What is the use of a Government, an Opposition and security institutions which carelessly absconded on this main responsibility? The tragic situation we saw arise after the 21 April attack was the spread of racist riots against the Muslim community, several weeks after the attack, in various parts of the country. How did extremist groups get the opportunity to cause damage to Muslim shops and lives during curfew? This is the matter, which, we as the people, should think about,” the 52% Force said.
At the same time, they also noted that another aspect that should be paid attention to, is the fact that the Government is using the present situation to gain undue advantage, whereby it is exploiting this state of affairs, to drag the society towards the direction of militarization.
While emergency laws have been imposed, the Government is using the opportunity to attempt to enact oppressive laws such as the disgraceful and infamous Counter Terrorism Bill which forces acting on behalf of democracy strongly oppose, 52% Force said.
52% Force also noted that while State failure was thus becoming evident, the majority of the mass media acted in an irresponsible manner in the face of this issue.
“Instead of dousing the flames, they acted to further impose the hand of social terror towards the daily lives of the majority of Muslims. By irresponsibly presenting the weapons discovered by the security forces, they created fear in the society and acted to further divide the society,” 52% Force said.
They also said that banning in the name of national security, the burqa worn by Muslim females, was done as if it was the only solution for all of this.