CCD instructed to probe Mt.Lavinia Rohingya refugee incident

CCD instructed to probe Mt.Lavinia Rohingya refugee incident

September 28, 2017   06:00 pm

It has been reported that the Acting IGP has instructed the Colombo Crimes Division to probe the incident that ensued on September 26, when a group of radical monks and activists violently threatened 31 Rohingya refugees who were residing in a safe house in Mount Lavinia.  

A group of activists along with several radical monks surrounded a residence that was being occupied by Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. The mob staged violent protests condemning the government for allowing the refugees to seek sanctuary in Sri Lanka. 

The situation intensified until the refugees were transferred to the Boossa detention camp under Police protection for their own safety. 

The Sri Lankan government on Wednesday (Sep 27) slammed a group of radical Buddhist monks who attacked Rohingya refugees in Mount Lavinia, pledging action against police who failed to protect them.

Co-cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said the government condemned Tuesday’s storming of a UN safe house where 31 Rohingya refugees, including 16 children and seven women, had been given shelter.

“As a Buddhist I am ashamed at what happened,” Senaratne told reporters. “Mothers carrying very young children were forced out of their safe house which was attacked by a mob led by a handful of monks,” he said.

The mob broke down the gates of the multi-storied building near the capital Colombo, smashing windows and furniture as frightened refugees huddled together upstairs.

There were no reports of casualties among the refugees, who were later taken to another location, but two police officers were wounded and admitted to hospital.

Senaratne said police had been ordered to take disciplinary action against officers found to have failed to control the mob.

“This is not what the Buddha taught. We have to show compassion to these refugees. These monks who carried out the attacks are actually not monks, but animals,” he said.

The 31 Rohingya refugees were rescued by the Sri Lankan navy five months ago after they were found drifting in a boat off the island’s northern coast
They had been living in India for several years before leaving a refugee camp in Tamil Nadu state.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees expressed alarm over Tuesday’s attack and urged Sri Lankans to show empathy for civilians fleeing persecution and violence.

Almost half a million Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh since Aug 25.

They have been the target of decades of state-backed persecution and discrimination in the mainly Buddhist country, where many view them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Accordingly, Acting DIG Ajith Rohana instructed the CCD to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the incident to apprehend the responsible individuals.   

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