Court bans extremist Sinhala groups from disruptions | Daily News


Thousands gather for World Bohra Convention

Court bans extremist Sinhala groups from disruptions

Tourism industry worries extremists will hamper recovery

The Magistrate’s Court has banned any act of breaching the peace by any protest or demonstration within the vicinity of Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court jurisdiction from September 1 to 10, Police said yesterday.

The jurisdiction includes Colpetty and Bambalapitiya areas as well.

Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne issuing an order yesterday directed the Organisers of “Sinhala National Movement and Ravana Balaya” not to engage in protests or rallies from September 1 to 10 within the Hulftsdorp Magistrate’s Court jurisdiction in a manner that would cause any obstruction and annoyance to the public or traffic flow.

Accordingly, unauthorised protests, meetings and marches and any act of breaching the peace are banned in the area until September 10. The court order has been issued specifically to the Sinhala National Movement (‘Sinhala Jathika Balamuluwa’) Convener Ven. Madille Pangnnaloka Thera and Power of Ravana (Ravana Balaya) Convener Ven. Ittekande Saddatissa Thera and their followers. The court has however said that there is no obstruction to hold “peaceful and lawful protests, meetings and marches”.

The court order further said the work of those engaged in duty must not be hindered by any such protest and that there should be no inconvenience to the people or obstruction to the vehicular movement.

The court order was in the wake of these Sinhala extremist groups planning to hold protests against the hosting of the Bohra Global Conferrence 2019 in Colombo. The conference, which has seen the biggest influx of foreign visitors to Sri Lanka since the April 21 bombings, is now being held in the Bohra community headquarters compound in Bambalapitiya, Colombo. The Bohra World convention has previously been held in Sri Lanka.

The court had given the order following submissions made by the Bambalapitiya police about the conference and the threat of protests against it by these Sinhala ultra nationalist organizations.

When contacted Police Media Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekera said Bambalapitiya area too comes under Colombo Magistrate’s Court’s jurisdiction. Earlier the Police announmced that a special traffic plan will be in force on the Marine Drive in Bambalapitiya from August 31 to September 10 due to an international conference being held at a location near the Bambalapitiya Railway Station.

Meanwhile, Ravana Balaya Convener Ven. Ittekande Saddatissa Thera told the Daily News that they, after considering the Court order, decided to proceed with the planned protest “peacefully”. Asked as to why they protest against the Bhora Global Conference, the Thera said, “It is only a few months since the Easter Sunday bomb attacks on such large gatherings. The global Muslim community can pose a threat to the National Security again. If such a problem occurs who will take the responsibility for that?”

Meanwhile, tourism industry sources told the Daily News that they were watching the situation with much concern since the Bohra World Convention was the first major international activity that would help revive tourism interest in Sri Lanka after the Easter bombings. They said that already, with much of the city hotels full of foreign arrivals for the Bohra convention, the event had revived industry earnings. These sources were alarmed that any disturbances would disrupt the tourism industry’s recovery.

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