Strong action must be taken against perpetrators of criminal acts – Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha

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Following is a statement from the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha

The Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha is horrified and deeply saddened by the brutal murders of teenage boys Joel Henry, Isaiah Henry and Haresh Singh of West Berbice. Our hearts go out to the parents and families of these young men. The immense cruelty exhibited to them is reprehensible, and must be strongly condemned by all.

We are calling on the Police and law enforcement agencies to conduct thorough investigations and bring the perpetrators swiftly to justice.

In addition, the unlawful acts committed in Region 5 against dozens of innocent people, inclusive of robbery, beatings, assault on women, and destruction of vehicles and property, must stop at once. This afternoon, another life was lost during protest action.

We call on the Government to provide the necessary protection for all Guyanese, and to take strong action against all perpetrators of criminal acts.

The Sabha would assist the victims in any way that we can.

While we recognise the fundamental right of citizens to protest peacefully, it is our strong view that if the protests on the streets are providing the opportunity and cover for illegal acts to be carried out against citizens, then other forms of protest must be used. At this time, it is better to have everyone in the affected areas off the streets than to risk even one more incident of attack, or robbery, or destruction, or worse.

Everyone is deeply hurt and angry, and clashes on the streets can only lead to more terrible incidents.

The COVID-19 cases are rising dangerously every day, and, as such, it may be best at this time for persons to protest and express views in a virtual medium. In this regard, while freedom of speech must be respected and protected, racial slurs, hate speech, and abusive and inciting statements on social media must be strongly condemned.

We urge the owners of the various social media pages not to tolerate such comments, and to report perpetrators to the Ethnic Relations Commission.

At this tense and volatile time in our beloved country, we must do everything possible to promote peace, respect and love among all. It is the responsibility of every Guyanese to work together to improve relations and prevent the recurrence of such devastating incidents.

The Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha calls on the political leaders to be positive examples for our country, and to work to restore peace and calm to our country. Our prayers are with all those affected during this difficult time.