June 20, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government should urgently investigate the recent deadly violence against minority Muslim communities, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.
Acknowledging the statements made by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa and other senior government officials denouncing the violence and promising compensation to the victims, the New York -based rights watchdog said the government needs to do more than arresting culprits and needs to seriously investigate who is responsible for attacks on the Muslim communities.
"Sri Lankan authorities need to do more than arrest those carrying out the anti-Muslim violence. They need to investigate and identify any instigators," Asia director of HRW Brad Adams said.
The violence, which began on June 15, 2014, after a rally led by the ultranationalist Buddhist Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) organization, left at least four Muslims dead, 80 injured, and numerous homes and businesses destroyed in the town of Aluthgama and surrounding areas.
The police have so far detained at least 40 people in the rioting; an additional 16 people were arrested and released on bail.
The organization asked the government to take a hard look at the role and relationship between extremist Buddhist groups like the BBS and the Sri Lankan security forces.
"In addition to providing prompt relief for those who suffered harm in the attacks, the authorities should create a secure environment for members of all communities," the HRW suggested.
The right group also asked the government to investigate the Thursday's attack on a moderate monk, who ho has campaigned for inter-faith harmony.
The monk, Watareka Vijitha Thero was found on the roadside on Thursday with injuries to his head and body. The monk had been publicly threatened by BBS leader Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera.
The HRW Asia director said the government needs to finally show a willingness to tackle violence against minority populations head on, especially through justice and accountability for the victims to end these attacks.