A Kuwaiti lawmaker has asked the interior minister to explain the disruption of the Sri Lankan New Year celebrations on Friday.
The daylong celebration organized by the Sri Lankan embassy at Jahra Stadium was cancelled hours before its scheduled end after angry Kuwaitis invaded the field and demanded that the participants, estimated at more than 10,000, leave the premises
The Kuwaitis, members of a conservative religious group, said that the celebrations violated Islamic rules by allowing men and women to mix and by playing music. Negotiations between the organizers, the police and the protestors failed to end the deadlock and the Sri Lankan ambassador urged his compatriots to leave the stadium to avoid an escalation of the tense situation. The police later said that the organizers had the proper papers to hold the celebrations at the stadium.
I want to know who exactly ended the celebrations and whether the interior ministry had any role in the decision. I also want to know whether the organizers had the proper documents to go ahead with the celebrations and whether the interior ministry did anything to stop those who wanted to suspend them, Aseel Al-Awadhi, one of the four women MPs in the Assembly, asked the interior minister.
Also yesterday, the Kuwaiti Human Rights Society issued a statement on the incident, strongly denouncing the suspension of the event. Unfortunately, the celebration was suspended upon the request of an MP, which is unjustifiable and an indication that authorities are incapable of respecting decisions, including the green light given to the event through a license. The statement, which was received by Kuwait Times, added that the Interior Ministry had repeatedly submitted to pressure applied by lawmakers , specifically MPs who belong to a conservative religious bloc which stands against freedom and people s jubilations.
Writing in Al-Qabas, columnist Ahmad Al-Baghli condemned the intervention of the Kuwaitis to end the celebrations, saying that the 10,000 Sri Lankans had the right and the official permission to celebrate. How could the interior ministry accept the conditions and demands of the citizens, even though some of them were MPs? Why should an MP claim that the celebrations violated Islam? Conservative MPs obviously want to end all forms of mixing, not only between Kuwaiti men and women, but also in other communities, Baghli wrote in his column titled Who rules Kuwait? Do I have to remind everyone that we are a state ruled by laws and official institutions, and not by traditions and statements? he wrote.