Hatim Khan- 13.03.2018 United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman has concluded his three-day visit to Sri Lanka last Monday. During his visit to the island, he condemned the attacks on the Muslim minority by right-wing Sinhalese Buddhist nationalists that resulted in the death of 3 people while leaving over 20 others injured and urged the Sri Lankan government to bring the culprits to justice. A UN statement said that Feltman “condemned the breakdown in law and order and the attacks against Muslims and their property”.
The events that the USG Feltman condemned began when a video of Amith Weerasinghe a leader of a nationalist group appeared on Facebook, in which he is seen insighting the Sinhalese majority to carry out violent attacks on the Muslims because "this town has come to belong only to the Muslims”. He further added “We, as Sinhalese, are to blame. If there are any Sinhalese in Digana or nearby, please come”. Weerasinghe apparently put out the video in relation to a traffic dispute that resulted in the death of a Sinhalese man at the hands of Muslims.
Soon Sinhalese mobs mobilized around the Kandy district where they vandalized and set on fire at least a dozen mosques and hundreds of businesses and homes belonging to Muslims.
Many afraid that this would take the country back to violence and ethnic conflict similar to the three decades long civil war among the Sinhalese and Tamils that ended in 2009 took on social media where they voiced their opinions and pressured the government to take immediate action.
The state of emergency that was declared by the Sri Lankan government last Tuesday to prevent the spread of violence elsewhere on the Island still not been lifted a week later. On Saturday, the Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena also announced the establishment of a three-member committee of senior judges to look in to the causes of the unrest and bring those who committed the crimes to justice.