Dayasiri denies being mob hero


By Rathindra Kuruwita

Social media had created an environment where lightning unverified reports created a fear psychosis, United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) MP Dayasiri Jayasekera said.

Responding to allegations that he too was involved in inciting communal violence in Hettipola and secured the release of six suspects arrested for rioting on Sunday, Jayasekera said that he had intervened to prevent further rioting and that the decision to give police bail to the rioters was taken by the Police.

"These people were arrested by Bingiriya police on Sunday and had been transferred to Hettipola. This was a bad decision because Bingiriya police is away from the city. On the other hand Hettipola police is in the middle the city. A large number of people had been gathering near Hettipola police from 5.30 am, " he said.

Jayasekera added that he was having his public day in Hettipola and was informed of possible violence by a number of individuals. He believed that it was his duty, as an MP, to stop any violence and had gone to the police station.

"It was about 12 noon and about 3000-4000 people had gathered near the police station. There was a UNP MP who was having a public day in the town, but he was not keen to join me when I called him. When I got there Namal Kumara was there. I threatened him and warned him to get out of town as he has no business there. He left in a black Defender jeep," he said. Kumara is the police informant that had revealed the alleged assassination plot against Sirisena and Gotabhaya.

The MP added that some Sinhalese racist groups were operating in Hettipola and that they were behind the instigation against Muslims.

"Soon the crowds started attacking the police. I helped the police to chase them out of the station. As more people were gathering, I told the OIC that its better to take the arrested rioters to Bingiriya police which is away from the city. The police had already wasted too much time. I took the rioters accompanied by an IP to Bingiriya police. By that time police had decided to grant them police bail. I didn’t influence the police to do so, " he said.

Jayasekera said that crowds had been successful in securing the release of arrested rioters in Kuliyapitiya. However the release of rioters had not improved the situation in Hettipola and crowds had continued to attack properties owned by Muslims.

"Then the army came and restored peace. I would never attack anyone and as Namal Kumara and a number of others had been arrested, they will soon reveal those who were behind the attack," he said.

Kurunegala has a significant Muslim population and they are scattered among Sinhalese villages. Due to mistrust and suspicion neither the Sinhalese nor Muslims sleep at night, he said.

The main reason for the mistrust is that the government had failed to convince the people that the security situation had improved. "A lot of Sinhalese believe that there are weapons in Muslim villages and the Muslims fear that the Sinhalese will attack them. That was how the last three weeks were spent. The authorities haven’t done enough to diffuse this situation," he said.

Sinhalese villagers believe that the Muslim villages had not been properly checked. Jayasekera had asked the DIG In charge to call for the assistance of the army to check the villages and assure people that there are no terrorists there.

"The police should explain to the Muslims why they are being checked. They should be convinced that these checks are to convince others that there are no weapons in the villages. On the other hand security forces should convince the Sinhalese villagers that they don’t face a threat. For example during Ramadan Muslims stay up late but some Sinhalese believe that they are up to cause them harm. So there are a lot of misconceptions," he said.


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