COLOMBO: Five people have been arrested over the assault on Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Malaysia, Ibrahim Sahib Ansar, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on Sunday, The Star Online reported on Monday.
Selangor CID chief Deputy Commissioner, Datuk Mohd Adnan Abdullah, conformed the arrests but he declined to give the names and other details of those arrested . The case is being investigated under Section 147 of the Penal Code for rioting, Abdullah said.
The Sri Lankan envoy was assaulted by a small group of Tamils at KLIA on Sunday, when he was seeing off Sri Lankan Minister Daya Gamage and other political party leaders who had come to Malaysia to attend an international conference of political parties.
The Tamil group had asked envoy Ansar where former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was. They had come to demonstrate against him for allegedly committing “war crimes” in his fight against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). When Ansar asked them to find out from the police, the gang hit him on the head and a bleeding envoy had to be rushed to hospital along with a Second Secretary in the mission who also received blows.
Radical Malaysian Tamil organizations linked to the LTTE’s ideology, had been demonstrating against Rajapaksa’s visit to Malaysia to attend an international political parties’ conference being held at the Putra World Trade Center in Kuala Lumpur.
Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry in a statement condemned the attack on its High Commissioner.
“The High Commission of Sri Lanka in Kuala Lumpur is coordinating with local law enforcement authorities in Malaysia and other relevant local authorities to identify perpetrators and assist with investigations,” said the statement.
Sri Lanka Foreign Secretary Esala Weerakoon summoned the Malaysian High Commissioner to express Sri Lanka’s deep concern over the untoward incident that took place at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
On September 3, the chief monk of the Sri Lankan Buddhist temple in Sentul was assaulted by a small group of demonstrators who were against Rajapaksa visiting the temple, Free Malaysia Today reported.
Members of the Malaysian Indian Progressive Association, Malaysian Tamilan, and the Malaysian Indian Education Transformation Association began their protest by burning an effigy of Rajapaksa . When the Chief Monk, Bante B.Sri Saranankara Nayaka Maha Thera (a Sinhalese), came out of the temple, some persons went to question him about Rajapaksa’s visit, and abused him using vulgarities and obscenities.
One person touched the monk’s face, prompting another to punch him in the face. Two members of the crowd also kicked the monk, forcing Sri Saranankara to run back into the temple.
Sentul police arrived in time to prevented the crowd from pursuing the monk into the temple.
Subsequently, the President of the Malaysian Indian Educational Transformation Association (MIETA), A. Elangovan, went into the temple with the police and apologized to the monk.
He said his group had gathered at the temple “because we want to give a stern warning to all Buddhist temples not to allow the mass murderer here.”
Malaysian Tamil groups blame Rajapaksa for being behind the alleged massacre of “100,000” Tamils in the last phase of the 25-year-long civil war.
Elangovan agreed it was wrong to assault anyone at a protest and said he did not know who the attackers were. Several people had just joined the crowd to protest.
“They became a bit emotional. But still, we can’t beat anyone up because this is a religious place.”
He said he had agreed with the chief monk that no one should be restricted from coming into a temple.
“This is a religious place. We have no right to dictate who should come here and not,” Elangovan finally admitted.
He said that if Rajapaksa came to the temple “to seek forgiveness from God, then it is fine. We have no say in who should come and not”.