Sri Lanka Muslim Congress decided to remain with the UPFA government, despite killing of Muslims

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Mahinda Government should be held responsible for everything says Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem

Leader of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem has visited Dharga town in Aluthgama, a short while ago. Hakeem is accompanied by several senior officials of the Sri Lanka Mulim Congress.  Although the situation is now tranquil in Beruwala and Aluthgama, uncertainly still looms large over the area with Police confirming two deaths due to last night’s clashes.

Many Muslims in Aluthgama, who gathered in mosques last night due to fear of being attacked, are yet to return to their homes. 

Speaking to BBC this morning, Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem said he was seriously considering retirement from his position as a result of yesterday’s clashes. Justice Minister, in an interview with the BBC said, the Aluthgama incident was a total failure of law and order.

The clash, coincidentally, occurred on the same day the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress had its national convention where the party decided to remain with the UPFA government, despite “harassment” to the country’s Muslim community.

AUDIO: Hakeem ‘utterly ashamed’; to decide on future with govt

The Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), Rauf Hakeem today stated that he is “utterly ashamed” for not being able to even provide the minimum security for the Muslim people as the country’s Justice Minister. 

The minister stated that he has visited Darga Town in Aluthgama and Chaina Fort in Beruwala, where clashes between religious groups broke out yesterday.   “Despite the previous existence of a risk for such a situation and despite the information possessed by intelligence units, we continuously talked about this situation for the past 3 days,” he told Ada Derana, over the phone.  He stated that the public is heavily criticizing the measures taken by the government to prevent this, despite knowing about preparations for such acts of violence. 

“The criticism from the masses that we have failed in our duties or responsibilities as government Ministers is justifiable. We have to accept that,” he said. “The people are blaming us for allowing the Bodu Bala Sena and Sihala Ravaya to hold such a meeting with a preparation for carrying out such provoking. We have to accept that too.” 

“We have seen the police obtaining a court order when university students or trade unions request to hold a demonstration or march. However, the question right now is what action did the police take regarding individuals preparing to create religious disharmony and provoke the public,” he stressed.

Explaining his stance on the issue, Hakeem stated that he has to accept and agree with the criticism regarding the failure at every opportunity to thwart such premeditated attacks targeting the economy of Muslim people. “We will inform the international community regarding this matter.” 

He stated that as government Ministers they can no longer remain silent on this issue. “Because the responses we receive internally are regrettable.” He stated that members of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) will gather this evening to decide on their next course of action. “The SLMC parliamentary group will meet today and discuss whether they can put pressure on this while continuing to remain within the government,” Hakeem said. 

He questioned why the government, which managed to defeat an organization such as the Tamil Tigers, is unable to prevent a terrorist organization like this.  Hekeem stated that as the country’s Justice Minister he is “utterly ashamed” for not being able to even provide the minimum protection for the Muslim people. 

Asked whether he has made a request for the arrest of those responsible for the incident, the SLMC leader stated that “they definitely have to be arrested” and that “it is very clear” as the speech delivered in Aluthgama not only provoked the people it also pushed them to violence. 

While calling for the arrest of the BBS and Sihala Ravaya Buddhist monks involved, the minister stated that he is of the opinion that the “government should be held responsible for everything.”