Sri Lanka bans use of Arabic in street names
11 June 2019| 07 Shawaal 1440| Saudi Gazette
The government of Sri Lanka Monday banned use of Arabic for street names, according to media reports.
A circular issued by Sri Lanka’s Official Languages Ministry asked authorities to remove Arabic street name boards, Colombo-based Sunday Times reported.
“Authorities will take swift measures to act upon this circular and remove such name boards which violate the law,” the daily quoted Official Languages Minister Mano Ganesan as saying.
“As a common policy, we can’t allow street name boards to be printed in any other language other than English, Sinhala, and Tamil,” Ganesan said.
The government circular made it mandatory to seek permission in order to use any other language on a street name board.
The move came in response to Easter bombings in April, which targeted churches and hotels in Colombo on Easter Sunday on April 21, killing over 250 people and injuring 500 others.
The decision was taken on a day when Special Investigation Board (SIB) submitted its findings on the bombings to President Maithripala Sirisena.
The Sri Lankan government appointed SIB on April 22 to identify the root causes of the terror attacks along with other related matters.
The accused behind the bombings were said to be linked with the Daesh terror group and the government pledged to take necessary steps to restrict spread of such a group in the island nation.
Pertinently, in what is seen to be a controversial statement, Sirisena asked his people “not to leave room for a Muslim Prabhakaran to be born”.
“Today religious leaders and politicians are divided,” Sirisena said last Saturday.
Prabhakaran was leader of now defunct Jaffna-based Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) — a separatist group seeking a sovereign state based on ethnic Tamil identity in northern Sri Lanka. He was killed in 2009 after a massive military operation by Sinhalese government.
However, a top Tamil leader Monday asked for an international investigation into the alleged injustice meted out to the minority Muslim community in the country in the aftermath of the massive Easter Sunday bombings.
“The fundamental rights of the Muslims are being abused using an act of terror,” C V Wigneswaran, former chief minister of the Tamil-dominated Northern Province, told reporters Sunday.
“Muslims are a part of the Sri Lankan community, they are being subjected to injustice in violation of the country’s Constitution,” Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted Wigneswaran as saying in Jaffna.
Wigneswaran expressed solidarity with the Muslim ministers who resigned last week claiming that the government failed to ensure the safety of the minority community in Sri Lanka.
Nine Muslim ministers resigned last week to allow authorities to investigate allegations against some of them.
There are 19 Muslims among the 225-member parliament and nine of them held Cabinet, state and deputy ministerial positions.
“Charges against the Muslim politicians have not been proved. The government must take responsibility for their resignations,” Wigneswaran said.