Saturday, March 02, 2013

Bodu Bala Sena's house to house campaign

Was chatting to a friend of mine. He had received a visit from a party lead by the Buddhist monk from his nearby temple. The monk had my friend's name and address, which they had obtained from the Grama Sevaka's office.

They had explained to him the danger that the Sinhala Buddhists faced from the rapid expansion of the Muslim population. He was given a written invitation attend to a meeting that will be held at the temple tomorrow, where the there would be a further discussion on this.

The campaign is being carried on in secrecy: only those invited or their nominees could attend. The temple would know who was attending and the identity of anyone who sent a nominee. 

The cloak-and-dagger approach and the focus on population is menacing, as Dayan Jayatilleka, notes in an illuminating article :

I am particularly worried, anxious, that the current wave of the anti-Muslim propaganda is on population growth rates. Why this makes me worry is that violence in such a context would not be preeminently anti-property but anti-persons, because if the name of the game is numbers, and rates of population growth, and the number of children that the Other has, then any violence is bound to seek to address that particular problem. In other words, the solution would be seen as one of an ethnic cleansing or ethno-religious cleansing.  

Another worrying aspect about this visit is the fact that they had my friend's name and address. It was no random visit, they had a list of all the Sinhalese households and were visiting them in turn.

Householders lists are supposed to be confidential, how were they obtained? People may recall that during the anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983, many of the gangs were armed with voters lists: they knew exactly where the Tamil houses were, and these were systematically attacked.

Such lists are once again in circulation, amongst dangerous hands. 


Vindi said...

This is terrifying. Are GNs even allowed to give out this information? What's worse, if they are able to identify Sinhala Buddhist households, are they able to identify others by religion/ethnicity with potentially negative consequences?

Given the rather violent spate of campaigning they have adopted, this is quite concerning.

Jack Point said...

Vindi, they had the names but not the religion. My friend was a Christian, but they were visiting all the household with Sinhalese names.

Muslims can easily be identified by their name. The same is true for Tamils.