calls for tangible action before dissolution of parliament
By Shamindra Ferdinando
The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) is pushing for a full-fledged administrative set-up for Tamil speaking people in the Ampara District in case the President Maithripala Sirisena-Premier Wickremesinghe government couldn’t immediately grant the Ampara Muslims a District of their own. The SLMC wants predominantly Tamil areas linked up to create an exclusive zone.
In a letter dated June 4 addressed to the President and Prime Minister, the Batticaloa District MP has called for tangible measures to provide legal status for the proposed district before the dissolution of Parliament.
Pushing for immediate approval for their project, Segudawood has explained that in the future a two-thirds majority will not be available to any government.
The SLMC Chairman has also reminded the President and the Premier of the immense contribution made by the Muslim community to defeat the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the January 08 presidential election.
He revealed that in the run-up to the presidential election, SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem had several rounds of talks with the then government to secure a firm guarantee as regards a Muslim coastal district. Acknowledging that the SLMC offered to back the then President at the poll on the basis of an agreement on Muslim coastal district, Segudawood claimed that the then presidential secretary Lalith Weeratunga had assured the party of the president’s readiness to meet their demand.
The MP said that the SLMC had received an assurance that President Rajapaksa would establish full-fledged additional district secretariat to pave the way for the proposed Muslim coastal district.
The Muslims shouldn’t be deprived of their longstanding call for a predominately Muslim administrative district in the Eastern Province, the MP said. He said since 1959 successive governments had conveniently failed to implement proposals for a Muslim majority district in the Eastern province.
The MP accused the JRJ (1982) and Wickremesinghe (2002) governments of acting contrary to promises and understanding reached with the Muslims.
He compared the recent government decision to release land belonging to Tamils in Sampoor in the Trincomalee district with their call for a separate administrative district in the Eastern Province.