State of emergency to restore normalcy

The Prime Minister giving a brief account on the two incidents in Ampara and Teldeniya, stressed that the series of violent acts which followed were deliberate attempts by an organized gang to inflame racial tensions, adding that those could not be underplayed as happened out of sudden anger. He said while the Buddhist monks and Muslim clergy in the area tried to resolve the issues, groups that came from outside created chaos.

The Prime Minister promised that swift measures would be taken to provide relief and pay compensation for the property damaged and affected people. The Premier pledged the Government would not hesitate to implement the law against the culprits who triggered racial violence, adding that the IGP was conducting a special investigation on the shortcomings on the part of Police in maintaining law and order.

He said action would be taken against any officer found to have neglected his duty. However, he appreciated the efforts of Police personnel to control the situation and maintain law and order.

He told the House that the National Security Council which met on Monday night instructed the Heads of Security Forces and Police to take urgent steps to restore normalcy and immediately implement the law against those involved in violent acts. They have been instructed to be on alert to control any unrest that might ensue.

He emphasized that the Government condemns the recent violent and racial acts in the strongest possible manner, reminding that 30 years brutal war had taught the nation the importance of peace, unity and freedom.

“We see that certain power hungry groups are planning various conspiracies and acts of sabotage to disrupt the public life. Racism is their only resort. They try to grab power by creating terror in the country. They spread false and distorted information profoundly by the social media. One such group was engaged in this vicious campaign for the last nine months. As a result a heated situation has erupted in the country,” he pointed out while emphasising the Government’s commitment to protect the Sinhala Buddhist heritage and rights of all other ethnic and religious groups in the country,” Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said.

He made an appeal to the public not to fall prey to those who try to fulfil their petty gains by inciting racism, but to act patiently and rationally. He pointed out Police was swift to arrest the four suspects who assaulted an individual on February 22 who later succumbed to his injuries on March 3.

“We cannot let anybody to take the law into the hands. The public confidence in law and order has been deteriorated. We have to restore this confidence from the legal action we take in the coming days,” the Prime Minister added.

The Prime Minister, observing that the reports in social media reach the entire world, pointed out false and racist propaganda on social media is a disgrace to the country.