Police did nothing until it was too late - Muzammil


National Freedom Front (NFF) spokesman Mohammed Muzammil yesterday said the Digana violence could have been easily thwarted had law enforcement authorities deployed sufficient strength there as a precautionary measure.

Muzammil said so when The Island inquired from him whether he had been in Digana on the day of the incident. Muzammil said that he was there for his brother’s wedding. "I was born there and Muslims always enjoyed good relations with the Sinhalese. In fact, Buddhist monks and villagers prevented outsiders from entering interior villages during March 5 attacks," Muzammil said.

The NFF spokesman said that he had left Digana a few hours before the trouble started though he was certain Sinhalese and Muslim local leaders on March 4 had decided to close down shops in the town the following day in view of the funeral of H.G. Kumarasinghe killed by drunken Muslim youth.

But the Digana police ignored the need to strengthen security, Muzammil said, adding that the police did nothing until very well organized gang stormed the town on March 5 afternoon.

There had been further attacks later in spite of a curfew.

Muzammil said those responsible for maintaining law and order had for some reason refrained from calling the army in until it was too late.

Muzammil said that another group of attackers had made an attempt to target Muslim shops at Akurana where the raiding party was thrashed.

Meanwhile, PM Wickremesinghe told a meeting in Kandy on Saturday places of religious worship were among 465 buildings damaged or destroyed as a result of communal violence. The Premier placed the number of totally destroyed buildings at 87, substantial damages at 196 and minor 182.

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