Lawyers and legal employees of Magistrate’s Courts in North on Thursday protested against the SL Minister of Trade, Rishard Badurdeen, for inciting community violence at Koanthaippiddi jetty in Mannaar and for causing mob violence against Mannaar Court complex on Wednesday. A Muslim gang, numbering around 500 persons, incited by Mr Badurdeen’s men, had threatened the Judges, lawyers inflicting damage to the court complex in the city on Wednesday. The violence was reported after the gang of SL Minister Badurdeen triggered ethnic violence against Tamil Catholic fishermen in Koanthaippiddi in Mannaar transforming a civil dispute into violence against Tamil Catholics of Joseph Vaas village. The SL Minister has been behind causing unrest between Catholics and Muslims in the district and has gone on record threatening the Bishop of Mannaar in SL Parliament, recently.
The gang of Mr Badurdeen, in recent times, has also threatened Muslim journalists who have expressed solidarity with the Bishop of Mannaar.
On Wednesday, the mob went amok on the High Court and the Magistrate’s Court in Mannaar for having allowed the fishermen from Joseph Vaas Nakar to continue to use Koanthaip-piddi jetty until a permanent solution was found to a dispute over the jetty between the two communities.
The dispute, being resolved by the civil officials at the divisional and district level was used by the gang of Mr Badurdeen to incite violence against the displaced Tamil Catholics, who have been using the jetty for 10 years. 23 fishing huts were burnt down and two fiberglass boats were destroyed by the mob on 13 July at Koanthaip-piddi.
On Wednesday, the mob also targeted the riot control commandos of the SL police, who had rushed from Vavuniyaa to control the mob violence.
The Sri Lankan Police in Mannaar is said to be reluctant in taking action to curb the culprits operated by SL minister Badurdeen.
Six persons including three police personnel were injured when the group of 500 Muslims demanded that Joseph Vaas Nakar fisher families should be sent out from Koanthaippiddi and to cancel the order by the Mannaar Magistrate’s Court that had allowed the fishermen to engage in fishing from the jetty temporarily till a permanent solution is found to their issue.
Fifteen persons were taken into custody by the SL police when the mob started throwing stones at the court complex building. Later, 8 of them were released.
Glass windows of the court complex were destroyed in the mob violence. Some vehicles belonging to Ceylon Transport Board and private owners were damaged due to stoning. The mob had also attempted to set fire to some of the vehicles.
Mannaar High Court Judge S.Thiyagendran narrowly escaped but his office was damaged badly. Functioning of the High Court was suspended.
The SL police opened fire in the air and used tear gas to disperse the rioters. They also baton charged to quell rioting.
The mob also demanded that the order made by the court to arrest those who were involved in riot on July 13 at Koanthaippiddi jetty should be cancelled.
Three persons injured in the rioting were admitted in the Mannaar general hospital.