Campaign targets vigil participants

A hate campaign has been launched using Facebook to target the participants of a vigil staged last week outside the Bodu Bala Sena office at Thunmulla.The police and Bodu Bala Sena members had disrupted the vigil and a member of the Bodu Bala Sena was seen taking photographs of those present, including journalists. 291B. Whoever, with the deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of persons, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations, insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both. (Colombo Gazette)Related story: http://colombogazette.com/2013/04/12/police-bbs-block-peaceful-vigil/ “We have already secured evidence about several individuals, including their names, addresses, places of work, etc and if we are forced to commence legal action against such individuals in order to remove and stop the false, defamatory and terrifying statements, be advised that we will seek criminal prosecution where applicable and recovery of all legal fees and costs incurred herein as a result. While we certainly hope this is not necessary, we are prepared to pursue whatever legal avenues are necessary to remove and stop the continued false, defamatory, and terrifying statements made against us,” the Buddhists Questioning Bodu Bala Sena Facebook group said.It also reminded those engaging in the hate campaign of the Prevention of Terrorism Act No. 48 of 1979 and the Penal Code which states: 479. Whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person, intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter excepted, to defame that person. The Buddhists Questioning Bodu Bala Sena, in a Facebook posting today, said that several individuals who participated in the vigil have now been defamed, slandered, and subject to acts of terrorism. The vigil last week was organized by a Facebook group calling itself ‘Buddhists Questioning Bodu Bala Sena’ and the aim was to campaign against hate speeches targeting any particular community. 2. (1) Any person who –(h) by words either spoken or intended to be read or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise causes or intends to cause commission of acts of violence or religious, racial or communal disharmony or feelings of ill-will or hostility between different communities or racial or religious groups;Penal Code: 481. Whoever prints or engraves any matter, knowing or having good reason to believe that such matter is defamatory of any person, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.487. Whoever commits the offence of criminal intimidation by an anonymous, communication, or having taken precaution to conceal the name or abode of the person from whom the threat comes, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, in addition to the punishment provided for the offence by the last preceding section.291A. Whoever, with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of that person, or makes any gesture in the sight of that person, or places any object in the sight of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.