Flanked by two notorious Buddhist monks, Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe once again played with numbers, claiming that there were 28,000 Sinhalese in Batticaloa before the war, even though statistics released by the Department of Census and Statistics very clearly state that that there were only 11,255 Sinhalese in Batticaloa in 1981, in comparison to 233,713 Sri Lanka Tamils and 78,829 Sri Lanka Muslims.
Addressing media at the Mangalarama in Batticaloa on Wednesday, in the presence of Bodu Bala Sena’s Galagoda Atte Gnanasara and Ampitiye Sumana, Rajapakshe also came to the rescue of Buddhist monks saying that even though there is a belief that certain monks were inciting racism, he faulted that no one has taken the initiative to sort out matters through discussions, which is why some situations had escalated.
“There is a serious issue facing the Sinhalese community in the area, because they are a minority here. Before the war there was 28,000 but today this has reduced to a very small number. The Sinhalese have serious grievances but they don’t have a representative in parliament from this area to highlight their grievance, and neither is there anyone in the Eastern Provincial Council to speak on their behalf,” he said.
According to Rajapakshe, the Sinhalese in the area were meted out step motherly treatment, where in many instances even the Grama Sevakas refuse to include the names of the Sinhalese in the electoral register. “If they go to the Pradeshiya Sabha, the officers there won’t read their letters because it is in Sinhalese. Even if there are officers who can read letters, they will throw them to the dust bin,” the minister disclosed.
Rajapakshe said that the meeting was convened by the Buddhist monks to educate him on the situation the Sinhalese community was facing. “But, the Chief of the Mangalarama did not only focus on the issues facing the Buddhist, he even told me about the grievances the Tamils and the Muslims are facing in the area. He was not partial and asked me to find solutions to the grievances faced by all communities,” Rajapakshe said of Ampitiye Sumana, who in November threatened to kill a Grama Sevaka and called him a ‘Tamil Dog‘ after the Grama Sevaka filed several court cases against the Sinhalese living in the Batticaloa district over a land issue.
Rajapakshe assured that his government was doing everything possible to create a country where everyone and every community can live peacefully.
Incidentally, this is the second time in a month that the Justice Minister has been found dishing out numbers irresponsibly. In November, addressing Parliament Rajapakshe announced that 32 Muslims had joined ISIS, however, this was a later found to be a misplaced number, and he was severely criticized for his irresponsible and hate mongering speech in Parliament.