Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WO to 80360, or upload here
Anxious wait for Sri Lankan families in Watford after island riots
Watford MP Richard Harrington has taken up the concerns of Sri Lankan Muslims in the town after seeing photographs of the "horrific" aftermath of rioting in the county.
Sri Lankans in Watford spent a distressing weekend waiting for news of loved-ones after violence erupted in the Western region of the country.
Official reports say at least three people were killed and scores were injured in the predominantly Muslim area following a demonstration organised by a hardline Buddhists group called BBS.
Mr Harrington has backed calls from his Sri Lankan constituents, who demonstrated outside Downing Street on Wednesday, for the UK Government to pressure the Sri Lankan President to act.
The MP said: "They came to see me and I saw photographic evidence of what happened. It was horrific.
"The British Government has got to put pressure on the Sri Lankan Government to find out what happened. And if they suspect those who did it, they need to say who they are and hunt them down. Not just put in a news blackout."
One West Watford couple described how they had spent an anxious weekend receiving messaged from terrified relatives back in their home county.
Asran Ameen, who lives with his wife Rimzama in Hadgen Lane, said his relatives had been injured and had their homes burned in Dharge Town in the west of the island.
The 34-year-old, who has lived in Watford for 15 years after leaving Sri Lanka in 1999, said he first learned of the trouble in his home town after receiving a call from his cousin on Sunday.
Mr Ameen said: "He called and said they had got news they (the demonstrators) where coming through the town. They had put police in the town and were preparing but they did not know what was going to happen.
"When they came through he said they really wanted to pick a fight and had stones and petrol bombs."
In the ensuing violence Mr Ameen, who works as a concierge at The Hilton hotel in Paddington, said his uncle’s shop and home was burned down as was his brother’s house.
He said his cousins were also hurt trying to defend the properties and Rimzama’s brother had been shot in the leg.
Mr Ameen said members of the close-knit Muslim Sri Lankan community in Watford had been supporting each other through the riots.
He said they feared that if action was not taken the tensions could escalate between Buddhists and Muslims in the county.
He added: "We really want the British government to put pressure on the Sri Lankan government to take action and ban the group. The British Government gives lots of funds (to Sri Lanka) and has huge influence.
"I believe this is just the start and they need to take action before something big happens. We saw what happened up in the north and we don’t want that to happen again in Sri Lanka."
Comments are closed on this article.