Muslim Parliamentarians who have resigned their ministerial positions have begun lobbying nation-level stakeholders as well as a range of international bodies to press their cause of freeing the Muslim community from the current spate of racial hatred and harassment, ex-Minister and powerful Muslim politician Rishad Bathiudeen announced yesterday.
He was briefing news media after visiting Police Headquarters to file complaints against parliamentarians S.B. Dissanayaka and Wimal Weerawansa for making false statements against him.
Bathiudeen, who heads the All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC), said they would shortly be meeting the United Nations (UN) Resident Representative in Sri Lanka and also the powerful Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)–world’s second largest inter-governmental organization after the UN.
“We decided to take several collective actions in the next few days, including meeting members of diplomatic community in Sri Lanka,” he told news media yesterday after he visited Police HQ in Colombo to lodge his complaints with the IGP. He was accompanied by MPs and members of All Ceylon Makkal Congress.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the collective voice of the Muslim world with a membership of 57 countries on four continents. “Hon MP Wimal Weerawansa has been irresponsibly and falsely accusing me and is creating an inter-ethnic issue by his actions. His conspiratorial accusations are divisive and creating ethnic hatred by their very nature” said Bathiudeen, adding: “Today I complained to the IGP against this, calling for an immediate inquiry and legal action by Police. We did not have any dealings with terrorist Zahran.
I never met Zahran nor seen him either. Therefore Wimal Weerawansa’s allegations that Zahran used vehicles belonging to Sathosa that was under me, for his terrorist activities, is totally false. It is also irresponsible. Also SB Dissanayake MP is exacting political revenge from me now since I did not extend my support to them during the 52-day anti-democratic coup in October 2018.
Today we also filed a complaint against Dissanayake MP for the false accusations he is making against me and his malicious propaganda.
“We, Muslims, always cohabited well with all other ethnic groups of Sri Lanka and we never supported ISIS or any form of terrorism. Therefore statements by MPs Weerawansa and Dissanayake are creating a new rift in our country with Muslims attacked in places like Minuwangoda and Kuliyapitiya by some other terrorists. It was Dissanayake and Weerawansa who were behind such terrorist acts.
“Muslim religious leaders, political leaders and Muslim people in areas such as Sainthamarudu extended their fullest support to wipe out the terrorists. We are also of the firm belief that ISIS terrorism should be wiped out from Sri Lanka. At a time we are trying to voice this consensus and helping to eradicate terrorists, it is very sad that such allegations are levelled at us by these MPs, and therefore we have filed our complaint today. Muslim Ministers did not step down just because these MPs nor the opposition asked us to resign, but out of our concern for the country.
“We respect the call by the Most Ven Mahanayake’s to former Muslim Ministers to resume their government portfolios and, see it as a good slap for any extremist and terrorist groups here. We, the resigned Ministers and Muslim leaders, met yesterday and decided to take several collective actions in the next few days: to meet the Ven. Mahanayaka’s, to meet Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, leaders of political parties including the JVP and TNA and other leaders such as Mano Ganeshan, Radhakrishnan, Digambaram, all diplomatic representatives in Sri Lanka.”