In a distressing turn of events, the peaceful and continuous protests held by Thimbirigasyaya residents in front of the Thimbirigasaya Health Guard Pharmacy are under siege, as an organized mob attempted to disrupt the demonstration on November 12, 2023. The silent protest, which has persisted for 234 consecutive times since April 7, 2022, has faced escalating threats, prompting concerns for the safety and constitutional rights of the demonstrators.
Reports indicate that a group of approximately 40 individuals orchestrated a violent attack, with evidence pointing towards a well-coordinated effort involving multiple vehicles and identifiable group leaders. The assailants reportedly seized printed banners and equipment used by the neighborhood protestors, valued at nearly 100,000 LKR. The incident has been officially reported to the Narahenpita Police under complaint number CIB II 71/79, highlighting the severity of the situation.
Alarming details reveal that the mob attempted to falsely attribute the attack to the Catholic Church, raising suspicions of an ulterior motive to incite religious conflict. This tactic has drawn attention from concerned parties, with fears that such incidents could exacerbate existing tensions in the region.
This recent attack follows a prior incident on October 10, 2022, where a member of the Thimbirigasyaya protest was assaulted, his mobile phone stolen, and his vehicle damaged. Despite reporting the incident to the Narahenpita Police Station, no concrete actions have been taken, prompting concerns about the safety and security of those participating in the peaceful demonstrations.
Human Rights Monitoring – Sri Lanka has been closely monitoring the situation and notes a disturbing trend of suppressing protests through the use of organized civil groups and mobs. The organization emphasizes the importance of upholding citizens’ rights to speech, expression, assembly, and company as guaranteed by the Constitution. Additionally, concerns have been raised about the potential for these organized groups to incite religious, national, and ethnic conflicts.
In light of the escalating threats, Human Rights Monitoring – Sri Lanka is urgently appealing to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka for maximum intervention. The organization is seeking assurance that the constitutional rights of Thimbirigasyaya neighborhood protestors will be protected during their upcoming peaceful protest scheduled for Sunday, November 19, 2023, at 4:30 PM. The proactive notice aims to prevent any potential violations of fundamental rights during the demonstration and in the aftermath.
The plea to the Human Rights Commission underscores the critical need for immediate attention to ensure the safety and well-being of citizens exercising their democratic rights in Thimbirigasyaya.