Mosques step in to keep peace in Batti-Amparai

[TamilNet, Sunday, 20 April 2003, 12:50 GMT]
Mosque trustee board officials Sunday foiled attempts to spread unrest in several Muslim towns in the Batticaloa and Amparai districts. Anonymous Islamic groups issued inflammatory leaflets Saturday in the two districts urging Muslims to protest against recent incidents in Mutur. “It caused concern that attempts were afoot to instigate violence in these parts too”, a Mosque official said.

However, Muslim towns remained peaceful Sunday as Mosques in Kalmunai, Kalmunaikudi and Saainthamaruthu and several Mosque trustee board officials in the region called for calm and urged people not to be “misled by false propaganda and the actions of disruptive elements”.

“We want the current atmosphere of amity and harmony to continue. We should not hide the light we are now seeing at the end of the tunnel. Tamils and Muslims should approach any problem peacefully and on a humanitarian basis”, Dr. S. Muththumeeran, the chief trustee of the Federation of Mosques in Ninthavur, a densely populated Muslim region 43 kilometres south of Batticaloa, told Tamilnet Sunday.

He said that Muslim towns were generally peaceful, but that shops were closed in some areas due to apprehensions caused by the leaflets.

meeravodai-mosque.jpg
Mosque in Meeravodai, about 35 km. northwest of Batticaloa.
“In this computer age, four people can get together and put out leaflets anonymously. There is no point in fighting without knowing the truth”, Dr. Muththumeeran said.

Several mosques also called on Muslims to observe calm and not to engage in activities that could disrupt the G. C. E Advanced Level examinations, which begin Monday.

“The action by the Mosques is most commendable. We should build on this to create a firm unity between Muslims and Tamils in the east” an LTTE official in Batticaloa said.

In October last year, an anonymous Islamic group attempted to incite violence in the southeastern town of Akkaraipattu over what it claimed was the abduction of a Muslim youth by the Liberation Tigers.

The Muslim youth returned and told Police that he, a member of the EPDP, a close ally of President Chandrika Kumaratunga, had voluntarily left his home. Investigators, however, speculated that the abduction was staged to deliberately incite Tamil Muslim violence and thereby disrupt the peace process.

The Liberation Tigers and Tamil National Alliance politicians in the region charged that the abduction was stage managed to destabilise the east.

Subsequently, the LTTE in the Batticaloa Amparai Districts stepped up friendly discussions and exchanges with Muslim community leaders and Mosque committees with a view to preventing future violence and acrimony.

 

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