‘Organised violence’ against tourists in Sri Lanka prompts Special Task Force deployment to restore order
With tourist safety now a top Sri Lanka government priority, the Special Task Force (STF) has been mobilized to patrol the beaches of Mirissa after recent disturbances.
The Sunday Times report follows “violent attacks on tourists allegedly by a mafia group operating in the area as beach boys, with local political backing”.
The incidents have galvanized ministers into action, with one noting that “the police required more officers and infrastructure to carry out special jobs … particularly in the coastal areas”.
The ensuing bad publicity is causing concern in the tourism and hospitality sectors, which are mainstays of the Sri Lankan economy.
But as we pointed out in an earlier post, some of the blame falls on the unwise and inflammatory behaviour of tourists whose desire for a ‘good time’ can clash with local cultural sensitivities.
As the Daily Mirror pointed out: “The responsibility of protecting tourists falls on the tourists themselves, as well as every Sri Lankan citizen.”
Meanwhile, tourism minister John Amaratunga says that “the presence of the police personnel on the beaches patrolling the areas that was likely to act as a deterrent to violent attacks being repeated”.
He said he would be “requesting President Maithripala Sirisena to assist in this regard by engaging the Sri Lanka Navy to patrol the beaches as well”.
And Interior Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara said that they would be “establishing 20 more Tourist Police units and identify problem areas and monitor them to keep these incidents in check”.
Read more here.