Sectarian violence re-surfaces in Muslim town, Kattankudy
[TamilNet, Monday, 02 October 2006, 17:37 GMT]
Clashes between orthodox Muslims against an Islamic sect that preaches pantheism resurfaced in Muslim town Kattankudy Sunday and continued for the second day, in which 32 houses and a van were damaged and 3 motorbikes burned down. Police curfew was re-imposed Monday.
Since the clashes continued, that began in Saturday night, Police imposed curfew from 9.00 a.m. and stepped up strict security. The town seemed deserted and persons entering the town defying the curfew were beaten and chased away by Police.
Many rich Muslim businessmen and farmers on the eastcoast are followers of Abdur Rauf Mowlavi and 'Payilvaan', with Sufi leanings.
Abdur Rauf Mowlavi's critics say that his teachings have borrowed from Hinduism and is the work of Muslims of Tamil Nadu origin, settled in Kattankudy.
The Sufi sect charges that a Wahabi extremist group funded by powerful sources in the Middle East is responsible for targeting Sufi followers.
The Deputy Director General of Police for Batticaloa- Amparai districts, Lasantha de Silva, arranged a conference to control the clashes and defuse the tension.
Representatives of the Ulama Council and the Islamic "Sufi" sect, involved in the conflict, A.Majeed, the District Coordinator for SLFP, SSP M. Kirigal, ASP A.Jamaldeen, The Chairman of Kattankudy Urban Council, members of the Council and journalists participated in the conference held for two hours.
The conference ended without reaching any compromise.
Sympathizers to the Kattankudy Jammiyathul Ulama Council and Federation for Kattankudy Mosques and other Organizations placed 10 demands to the "Sufi" sect led by Rauf Mowlavi.
The demands included respecting the rules and regulations of Kattankudy Jammiyathul Ulama Council, stopping the radio broadcast and publishing the newspaper run by them and giving compensation to the houses damaged.
Meanwhile, many youths were seen gathered in the Kattankudy Grand Jumma Mosque and Bathriya Jumma Mosque, which are the centre of focus to both factions. In Kattankudy Grand Jumma Mosque only, more than thousand youths gathered and a large number of Policemen patrolled the area in Armed Personnel Carriers.
So far, no prominent politicians visited Kattankudy, residents said.