The ambassador, seeking to end the deadlock peacefully, urged his compatriots to cancel the celebrations while the police said that the Sri Lankans had all the necessary permits and did not break the law. Image Credit: Courtesy of Al Anba

Manama: A Kuwaiti lawmaker has asked the interior minister to explain the suspension of the Sri Lankan new year celebrations on Friday.

The day-long festivities organised by the Sri Lankan embassy at Al Jahra Stadium, 32 kilometres north west of Kuwait City, were cancelled hours before their 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 right 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 Kuwaiti parliament, asked the interior minister.

Writing in Al Qabas daily, columnist Ahmad Al Baghli condemned the intervention of the disgruntled 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 another 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," Al Baghli wrote.

"Do I have to remind everyone that we are a state ruled by laws and official institutions, and not by traditions and statements?"