Prime Minister Wickremesinghe visited the areas of Kengalla, Digana, Pallewila, Ambatenna and Akurana, which saw the worst of the mob violence targeting Muslim homes, businesses and places of worship in waves of unrest that shook the central district from Monday-Thursday.
Following his tour of the regions affected by the violence, where he surveyed damage to property and mosques, and condoled with families who had lost loved ones, the Premier chaired the Kandy District Security Committee meeting at the District Secretariat with Ministers and Government officials where he ordered preliminary compensation to be paid to all victims of Rs 100,000 each immediately. He would also propose to Cabinet that this compensation be increased to Rs. 500,000 to the affected families, the Prime Minister vowed.
The Prime Minister also ordered valuations of the damaged property to be concluded by next Friday (6).
“A total of 465 properties were damaged, including houses, businesses, vehicles and mosques. There were 14 mosques which underwent complete, partial and minor damages,” Prime Minister said after his damage inspection tour.
Discussing the Teldeniya lorry driver who was assaulted on February 22 and died on March 3, which sparked the Kandy unrest, the Prime Minister urged officials to ensure monetary support was provided to the family of H.D. Kumarasiri, who had two children including one child with developmental issues. Three days after the violence ended, the Prime Minister was the first non-Muslim politician to visit affected families in Digana and other affected regions in Kandy. During his visit he walked through the Kengalla mosque which was badly damaged in the attacks, where he picked up a holy book that had been strewn amidst the debris and flipped through its pages.
The most important thing was to ensure that disrupted lives are returned to normal as soon as possible, the Prime Minister said.
“Throwing everything to a commission is not the solution. We need to learn to live in harmony like children of one mother, as our national anthem says,” Premier Wickremesinghe noted.
He also emphasised that the violence had done grievous damage to the image of the country. “Damaged property can be rebuilt. But it will take two years before the damage to the country’s image is restored. The law will be enforced strictly on those behind the violence,” Wickremesinghe added. Under Sri Lanka’s constitution, all citizens have the freedom to practice their religious and culture, the Prime Minister asserted. During his visit to Kandy, the Prime Minister also met with family of 27 year old victim Abdul Basith, who died from toxic smoke inhalation when home was set ablaze by the rampaging mobs last Monday