Demonstrations against attack of several Buddhist temples in Bangladesh
500 Buddhist monks and several protestors stone the Bangladesh High Com
By Binoy Suriyaarachchi
Pic by Gemunu Wellage
Pandemonium broke out in front of the Bangladesh High Commission in Colombo yesterday, after around 500 Buddhist monks and several protestors, blocked the main road for a few hours and pelted stones at the High Commission while demonstrating against the recent attacks of several Buddhist temples, in Bangladesh.
As tension mounted in the area, the Cinnamon Gardens Police and police anti-riot teams were deployed in an attempt to disperse the crowd.
The incident transpired after the protest march which commenced from Town Hall by the ‘Bodu Bala Sena Sanwidhanaya,’ arrived in front of the Bangladesh High Commission, to hand over a petition against the recent attacks that occurred at several Buddhist shrines in Bangladesh.
The situation was aggravated after several protesters who were engaged in the demonstration, started to attack the High Commission with stones and water bottles, police said.
Police Spokesperson, SSP Ajith Rohana, said several windows and other equipment of the High Commission were damaged due to the incident.
SSP Rohana said an individual who had behaved in an unruly manner and attacked the Bangladeshi mission with stones, was arrested by the Cinnamon Gardens Police. He said the suspect is supposed to be produced in the Colombo Magistrate’s Court, today.
After the main road was closed down temporally due to the protest march, a heavy traffic was reported in the area, yesterday. Heavy traffic was reported to have affected areas such as Thunmulla, Narahenpita, Sangawatte Mawatha and also Galle Road. Police had advised motorists to take alternative routes.
The All Ceylon Jammiyathul Ulama, which is the body of Islamic scholars in Sri Lanka stated that they were shocked and saddened over the reports of extremist Muslims in Bangladesh attacking Buddhist Shrines.
“We look down upon this incident that led to the attack on Buddhist Shrines in Bangladesh. We urge the government of Bangladesh to take necessary steps to ensure that Buddhists in the country are safeguarded,” the All Ceylon Jammiyathul Ulama said in a communiqué.
Meanwhile, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwelle yesterday said that necessary precautions have been taken to avert any anti-Muslim activity that may ensue in the country due to the Bangladeshis burning Buddhist shrines.
He said that certain Muslim leaders have drawn the government’s attention to the possibility of anti Muslim feelings being ruffled by certain extremists who may try to rekindle ethnic trouble in the country, and consequentially the government has taken steps to avert any such commotion.