(Text of Speech made by Hunais Farook , UPFA Vanni Dist MP, in Parliament on July 20 2012)
I am thanking you for giving this opportunity. I have the duty to speak about the incidents that took place in Mannar today and yesterday.
UNP Member of Parliament, John Amaratunga and Sri Ranga M.P. stated that the incident was planned and perpetrated by a minister. That is against the truth.
I was there at the time of the incident. I have the duty to tell what happened there. The member of the Uppukkulam Fishermen’s Association arranged a peaceful procession against the magistrate of Mannar. This procession took place without any incident for over three hours. Then the magistrate came out in his official attire and ordered the Police to open fire and tear gas on the demonstrators.
Accordingly, Police charged tear gas canisters. It is then only the people got disturbed. We are prepared to provide video evidence and witnesses to those who require further clarifications.
The Catholic community of Mannar did not provide fishing location for the Internally Displaced People from Vidathalthivu (IDPs in 2002). At this juncture, the Muslim people lived in Uppukkulam gave the area called Padu under an agreement to these Catholic IDPs to use for fishing.
Presently, the Muslim IDPs in Puttalam returned to their original homeland, and needed this fishing area for their own use. At this time, they did not commit any injustice. These people referred this problem to the Assistant Director of Fisheries, District Secretary and Divisional Secretary and requested to return the area for themselves. I am asking, is it injustice?
The present incident in Mannar looks as if I gave a house for rent or under some circumstances to a person and when demanding it back after 10 years, the person who possesses the house refusing to return it back with the support of some others.
All incidents are similar to this position. It may be administrative or a judiciary matter. When we and the people demand justice, racial discrimination has been incited. There is a racial force behind this. They discriminate not only on Northern Province or the national level but also in the international arena. They also have a plan as to how to destroy the reputation of the government in the Northern Province, particularly in Mannar. When an incident takes place, that is manipulated.
The present administrative officers behave like the way the LTTE forcibly evicted Muslims at gunpoint and they act against the government. They act with an objective of chasing away this resettled community.
You all are well aware that Minister Rishad Bathiudeen has stated in this House about the Muslim returnees who were attempting jungle clearance and resettlement which were opposed by a Bishop and who has complained to the President. Whoever commits a mistake, it is a mistake. He can be a legislator or a judge who administrates the law or protectors of the law. An error is an error, whoever commits it. Whenever a mistake is pointed out, it has been construed as the Minister insulting the Bishop. For this purpose, to undermine the status of the Minister on national and international level, a large demonstration has been organized in the Mannar district against the minister.
I visited the district courts this morning, I am a lawyer. I respect the law, since I studied the law. We strongly believe whoever acts wrongly against the courts and judges should be punished. I witnessed by my own eyes that some people used their judicial authority and try to implement the judicial system in an incorrect manner. The demonstration organized by the Bar Association in Mannar is actually not a demonstration against the people who acted against the law and order. But, that is a politically motivated demonstration.
This demonstration was lead by a lawyer Siraibai who contested in the Vanni District under the TNA. It did not appear that the slogans carried by the demonstrators and lawyers were to protect the justice and courts. In contrast, the intention to chase away a person, who is recognized in the area, Muslims as national leader and Cabinet Minister from politics and to destroy his authority. Also to destroy him from serving Muslim, Sinhalese and Tamil communities equally and also to eliminate reputation and trust he has from Tamil and Christian brothers.
The placards contained versions “destroy Minister” and “Is Rishad a god?” and so on. All the placards were against the minister. I ask what is the injustice committed by the minister? But those people voted for us and they are from our district-we should help whenever they are in distress. We obtained the helicopter from the Defence Ministry and immediately went there to amicably solve the issue. Many lives would have been lost if we have failed to do so.
We went to the affected areas, inspected the situation and requested the victims to be patient and made damage control activities. We acted yesterday to deliver justice to the people who are requesting to solve their problems.