By Indika Sri Aravinda
Minister of National Language and Social Integration Vasudeva Nanayakara is to submit a Cabinet paper seeking a ban on extremist groups, including the Bodu Bala Sena, Ravana Balaya and Sinhala Ravaya.
The Minister told The Sunday Leader that the Cabinet paper is being drafted and will be submitted in two weeks time.
He said that the Cabinet paper will seek to bring in new laws to crack down on such groups in the wake of the recent religious tensions in the country.
Nanayakkara accused the Bodu Bala Sena, Ravana Balaya and Sinhala Ravaya of spreading hatred and disharmony among religions and other communities.
He also accused the police of failing to take action against such groups despite them openly advocating hatred.
Nanayakkara also said that he had written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa regarding the hate campaigns targeting Muslims in the country.
“Under our constitution anyone can follow any religion they want. If people feel threatened then they should complain to the police and the police must take action or they can go to Court,” he said.
His comments came in the wake of the recent attack on the Fashion Bug store at Pepiliyana and hate campaigns targeting other Muslim establishments.
The Bodu Bala Sena denied any involvement in the Pepiliyana incident but the monks had openly spoken against the clothes store at a public rally recently.
The latest incident led to Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader and Minister of Justice, Rauff Hakeem requesting President Mahinda Rajapaksa to convene a cabinet meeting to discuss the rising religious unrest and civil disturbance in the country.
Minister Hakeem has also contacted all the Muslim parliamentarians including Senior Minister M. H. M. Fowzie (who is currently out of the country) and Ministers Rishard Bathiutheen and A. L. M. Athaullah for the meeting in this regard.
An SLMC statement on Friday said that the Minister had expressed his displeasure and had condemned the attack on a private business site. He believes that this was seemingly carried out as a sequel to the ongoing attacks on the religious places and hate campaigns against Muslims and other religious minority communities in the country.
Minister Hakeem also said he was dismayed at the ineffective response of the law and order machinery in containing the spread of such violence and unrest that fuels insecurity and peace of all minority communities in Sri Lanka.