The reasons for the emerging racial tensions
A lot of people try to portray that racism of the minorities is the results of Majoritariansim. This is far from the truth.Let us take the Tamil separatist struggle, this was never the result of Sinhala chauvinism.
The first elections held in Sri Lanka were in 1910, and was completely for the elite. In order to qualify for the vote a person had to be male, had to have an income of over 3000 pounds and you have to be fluent in English. Therefore only 2400 people qualified to vote. Who won the election? It was Ponnambalam Ramanathan. That itself shows the positions of privilege the Tamils were given, who only formed 11% of the population.
It was not because of a caste issue, there were close to 1400 Tamil votes in that list who represented 42% of the voters. So clearly this demonstrated the fact that the Tamils were a privileged elite. Then Ponnambalam Ramanathan after the 1915 riots told an audience that he is the Big Brother and that the Sinhalese and Muslims were his little brothers and they should not fight. That was the Big brother mode they lived in.
The first race or ethnicity based party was formed by the Tamils in 1925 by Ponnambalam Arunachalam. There was no Sinhala Only Act or, the 1893 riots, or the BBS at the time. Then the ACTC was formed in 1936, there were no BBS or any other Sinhala political party at the time. The ITAK was formed in 1945 with the call for secession what was the Sinhala extremism during that time in Sri Lanka?
The Amadyapa movement was formed against the British occupiers and to fight against alcoholism. What did these other parties do to fight against the occupiers? No it was us from the time of Keppetipola to the present day it was the Sinhalese who fought.
That is the truth; the Tamil racist movement existed from that time. This was correlated with the Tamil Nadu factor where Annadorai formed a movement against the Hindus in 1931 and interacted with Jinnah to secede. This was the Nayakkar movement which was suppressed. It was after that the DMK was formed after the DK was banned. That’s the history. It was not Sinhala racism but the other way around. Sinhala chauvinism was only a reactio.
What happened was the Tamil hegemony thought they could rule this country, later on they understood they couldn’t and that’s why they agreed to the 50% / 50%. Again for example one thing that was used during the 1971 uprising was the standardisation requirement for univesities. Did you have a look at the Z- score this year? When the child in Colombo has to obtain 1.99, the child in Mullaithivu has to only obtain 0.25 to enter the engineering faculty. Now the Sinhalese also have to revolt isn’t it? The same applies to the year 5 scholarship examinations. In that 22 districts have Tamil students who passed but there are Sinhalese students in only 18 districts. Then tell me where is the ethnic cleansing occurring? It’s not here but in the North. What exists here is complete Tamil racism and the Sinhalese only reacted to it.
I am asking you one question, has the Tamil population in Colombo increased or decreased? It has increased, so then where is this Sinhala racism that they are talking about? Has a brick being thrown at Wigneswaran and Sumanthiran to this day? When Indira Ghandi was killed in 1984 by a Sikh, 6000 Sikhs were massacred during a single night for which there has not been an inquiry. When Premadasa was killed did we murder or assault a single Tamil?
Narendra Modi who speaks of Tamil rights was responsible for the massacre of 760 Muslims in a single night in 2002 which happened over a small incident. There were bombs all over Colombo was one Tamil assaulted by the Sinhalese? Where in the world has this happened? In Britain when a soldier was stabbed recently what happened? 889 issues of assault or intimidation against Muslims were reported.
Now there are people who are going around claiming that the Muslims are being harassed by the BBS. The only thing I want to ask is, from 1991 the LTTE massacred Muslims, burnt down mosques, cleansed certain areas, tell me one Muslim leader who called for the Muslims to join the Army to defeat the LTTE? There was not a single Muslim leader who called for this.
Today the rights of the Muslims over land in those areas were won by the Sinhalese, 26,978 of our children died for this. My point is that the leaders never called for the youth to join the Army and defeat the LTTE. Only 93 Muslims have died in the battlefield and out of them a majority are Malays. But there are more than 93 muslims who have died as a result of being a part of the LTTE. I have all the data. Now they are talking about Grandpass, when a mosque was attacked in Manirasakulam it was we who went there and saved the Muslim people. None of these Mulsim leaders including Rauff Hakeem were there. I buried the five bodies with my bare hands. Hakeem was signing an agreement with the LTTE at the time, what right does he have to speak on behalf of them, the Muslims now?
One thing I want to tell the Muslim people is not to segregate, don’t create social segregation by doing what Prabakharan did. We are not the ones segregating ourselves from the rest- from the way the Muslims dress, the way they eat and act they should not segregate themselves from the rest of the country.
We have to accept the truth that Wahabism prevails in this country, this is the truth. What happened in Grandpass? I also went there together with the Muslim leaders. The Buddhist Priest asked them what the problem was and they said they could their was nor space for females to pray , the prelate asked them to use the “ Bana Maduwa” in the temple. Now tell me where in the world does this happen? Then they said there was a Bo tree, the Priest told them to cut it. Tell me where in the world did this happen? On the other hand Rauff Hakeem spoke for 15 minutes in Parliament regarding a statue that was situated in Panama.
Today Nindavur and Samanthurai are the best examples of this segregation. What happens in the end is that the educated, broad-minded and non-extremist Muslims living in the country would suffer as a result of this. That is what is going to happen. Do they want to turn back the progress and the vast strides Muslims have made in all spheres of life ? Is that what they want? To stop the females from education, to cover them from head to toe? Is that what they are looking for to make this another Saudi?
I am not afraid to say that the Sinhalese of this country have not done a single act of wrong to the Muslims. Not one single act. The 19% of the Muslim population in Colombo rose to 40% but we did not do a thing. We haven’t stopped the lounds speaksers from blaring the Azan or stopped the way they dress have we?
Why is Palestine is at war with Israel? Because their land has been occupied by the Jews. Then how must we have to fight against Muslim expansion. That’s what I am saying. The real Muslims lived in peace but a few of these extremist created an unwanted psychosis among them and are trying to turn these Muslims into Wahabism. Please don’t do that because if that happens the Sinhalese are not going to be the ones who suffer but it is the moderate Muslims who are living in peace with the rest of the country.