Thursday, 07 February 2019 16:58

Village Officials Assist in Preventing Conflict

Village level officials and DIRC members in Trincomalee and Batticaloa attended meetings to discuss early warning and early response practices to avoid ethnic and religious conflict in their areas under NPC’s project, Inter-faith and Inter-ethnic dialogue in Sri Lanka.

Village level officials, or Grama Niladaris, were recognised as people who would be aware of what was happening at the village level and would be able to sound warnings about potential conflicts.

The Grama Niladaris in the two districts identified land issues, sharing of natural resources, religious conversion, political affiliation, social structure and employment opportunities as causes of tension between different communities.

Two mitigation activities were also organized by the DIRCs in both districts under the project. In Trincomalee, one of the issues raised was about Kinniya where there was a Muslim majority and a Tamil village adjoined Kinniya town. Tamil youth came to Kinniya town for their education and tuition classes. DIRC members reported that Muslim boys were insulting Tamil girls returning home after classes. To respond to the situation, DIRC organized a meeting with the police, religious leaders, teachers and students and discussed the problem.

The police officer of the area said he could not take action without an official complaint being lodged. The Muslim religious leader said he would speak about the problem during his Friday talk at the mosque.