Easter calamity: Govt paralysis blamed for backlash


By Saman Indrajith

NIO Chairman Prof Chandana Abeyratne addressing media yesterday. Seated from left are Dr Athulasiri Samarakoon, Attorney-at-Law Harshana Nanayakkara, Dr Nihal Abeysinghe, former Ministry Secretary Ashoka Peiris and Accountant Wasantha Perera

The delay in instituting legal action against those responsible for the Easter Sunday carnage compelled people to take the law into their own hands, says the National Intellectuals’ Organisation comprising concerned intellectuals, professionals, civil and political activists and citizens.

Addressing the media at the NIO headquarters in Subhuthi Pura, Battaramulla, yesterday, NIO Chairman Prof Chandana Abeyratne said: "There are many politicians and officials who had aided and abetted the Easter Sunday carnage. People thought that the culprits of the crime would be punished. They expected the government to implement law against them. But many who are responsible are still at large. The security forces arrested some members but there are many that should have been arrested. The government is paving the way for another Black July."

Attorney-at-Law Harshana Nanayakkara said: We should remedy the reasons which led to the backlash three weeks after the Easter Sunday carnage. Islamic fundamentalism cannot be defeated only through military means. People who witnessed the inaction of the government got afraid that the government will not take action. The government was not able to allay their fears. The backlash was the reason for the government inaction. Politicians were involved in securing the release of some suspects. The law and order collapsed. So some may have thought of taking the law unto their own hands to eliminate the threat against their security.

Dr Nihal Abeysinghe: The situations we witness now are similar to what we experienced in July 1983. Properties of minorities are being attacked. Business places are set on fire. Loss of lives and damaging of religious places are reported. Soon after the 1983 many professionals and intellectuals left the country for good. Our economy suffered. Tourism industry collapsed. Now we are witnessing the precursor leading to the same situation.

Senior Lecturer of the Open University Dr Athulasiri Samarakoon: The government should be prudent enough to manage this crisis. It seems that the government has no human resources to manage this crisis and the result would be dangerous for the nation as both China and India would make use of this for their gain. The country is in turmoil because religious fundamentalists are calling the shots.

Former Ministerial Secretary Ashoka Peiris and accountant Wasantha Perera also addressed the press.


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