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ILSHS Volume 59

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Post-War Conflict in Sri Lanka: Violence against Sri Lankan Muslims and Buddhist Hegemony

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Following the end of the thirty years old civil war in Sri Lanka, there were expectations that the post‐war period would usher in peace, development and reconciliation. The last four years have witnessed several positive developments including resettlement of people and rehabilitation of infrastructure. Nonetheless there are range of problems and policy gaps that have hindered the transition from war to sustainable peace. A key post-war challenge is that of violence against religious sites and members of religious communities. More recently, from last year, there has been an unprecedented level of violent attacks, demonstrations and hate speech targeting Sri Lanka’s Muslim population. It noted a ‘sharp uptick’ in religiously-motivated violence and said the authorities are ‘passively and sometimes actively’ condoning extremist Buddhist groups, Mainly perpetrated by Buddhist-fascist fundamentalist groups, such as the ‘Bodu Bala Sena’ or ‘Buddhist power force’ and the Hela Urmaya or Sinhala Heritage Party are the main groups behind these targeting of Muslims.The events have left the country’s second largest minority community - the Muslims feeling afraid and vulnerable which forcing a concerted campaign against them. In addition to attacks on places of religious worship there are calls to boycott Muslim shops and establishments, all of which is increasing tensions, particularly in areas where Muslims and Sinhalese live close to each other. These were virtually programmed by some prominent and influential personalities in governing circles, besides others who had a vested interest in seeing Sri Lanka imploding amid heightening ‘communal tensions.’On this context, this study focuses on the recent incident of violence against Muslims in Sri Lanka. The primary objective of this study is to examine the motive for violence against Muslims as well as impact of the violence. The fundamental questions of this research are the following: why does post-war violence and hate propaganda arise against Muslim in Sri Lanka In which ways the violence against minorities, particularly Muslims impact on reconciliation process And why does Buddhist nationalist hegemony arise soon after civil war in Sri Lanka This study is based on an interpretive approach. The data were collected from both primary and secondary sources. In addition to primary sources, qualitative interviews were conducted with selected specialist on this particular research area. I conclude that after end of war against LTTE by government of Sri Lanka, religious tension has been increased in the recent past and the government’s reluctance even to take firm action against to perpetrators which would be helpful in restoring the rule of law and security of Sri Lankan minorities has been a big hurdle in the post-conflict situation and government are perceived to serve only the Buddhist side and to marginalize those holding legitimate grievances.


International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences (Volume 59)
S.M. Aliff, "Post-War Conflict in Sri Lanka: Violence against Sri Lankan Muslims and Buddhist Hegemony", International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, Vol. 59, pp. 109-125, 2015
Online since:
September 2015

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Cited By:

[1] A. Sarjoon, M. Yusoff, N. Hussin, "Anti-Muslim Sentiments and Violence: A Major Threat to Ethnic Reconciliation and Ethnic Harmony in Post-War Sri Lanka", Religions, Vol. 7, p. 125, 2016