Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya chapter Most Ven. Dr Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Thera yesterday stressed the need for the various communities of this country to live peacefully as brothers.
Welcoming the former Muslim Ministers who resigned from their ministerial posts last week when they visited the Asgiriya Maha Viharaya the Mahanayake Thera said: "We are all Sri Lankans born in this country and we have lived together for several centuries without any issues."
The Former Muslim Ministers and deputy Ministers who visited the Asgiri Sangha Sabhawa led by The Mahanayake Thera of the Asgiriya Chapter and the Anunayake of the Malwatta Chapter Most Ven. Niyangoda Sri Vijithasiri Thera and the Maha Sangha included A.H.M. Fowzie, Faizer Mustapha, A.H.M. Haleem, Rishad Bathiudeen, Rauff Hakeem, Faizal Cassim, Abdul Maharoof, M.H. Harees, and Ali Zahir Mawlana.
Rauff Hakeem addressing the Maha Sangha said that there was no ulterior motive in resigning from their ministerial posts as published by many. The incident that took place at the precincts of the Dalada Maligawa led to several groups meeting and we were made to understand that a violent situation could develop in the country, provoking the masses with hate speeches, we were forced to accept that a tense situation was developing.
"Despite some suggesting in the negative we decided to resign from our post so as to enable the investigations on those alleged persons to continue without any hindrance. From the information we received about the incidents that took place at the site of the fast we took this decision. It is not our intention to continue this position. We thought it is more fitting to make this sacrifice even for a short period," he stated.
The Anunayake of the Asgiriya Chapter Ven. Dr. Amamaduwe Dammadassi Thera expressing his views said that from the times of ancient Kings, the Muslims were given protection. Among you there were many who were not levelled with allegations and we felt that people became worried and suspicious, and even we became worried why those who are not faced with allegations also joining the others. Those who are faced with charges should prove their innocence.
The Anunayake of the Malwatte Chapter Rajakeeya Punditha Ven. Niyangoda Sri Vijithasiri Thera in his discourse to the Muslim leaders said that during foreign invasions of the past the Muslim community made much sacrifices for the sake of the country. This trend had continued even to the present times. When observing the activities of the ruthless terrorist outfit and its organization, there was an opinion among the ordinary people that you too were well aware of these terrorist activities, and your resignations collectively aggravated the situation.
"There is a significant vote base among the Sinhala Buddhist in the entire Sathara Korale for Ministers Haleem and Kabir Hashim, who performed well as the secretary of the UNP. We know of the service rendered by Late Minister of Education Badi-ud-deen Mahmood. Therefore it is well and good that this issue ends here.
The Senior member of the Sangha Sabha of the Asgiriya Chapter Dr Muruddeniye Dammarathana Thera said that the Muslims in the East complained about Zahran to the police, but it appears that no action has been taken on these complaints.
Rauff Hakeem in reply said that they had told the Prime Minister about Zahran’s gang. This matter was also discussed at the Cabinet level. "We expect the full cooperation of the Maha Sangha in this matter and to restore normalcy".
Rishad Bathiudeen in his reply said that he was a destitute of the war. "I was displaced with more than one hundred thousand people and lived in refugee camps for many years. If there are charges against me let them punish me. I have not acquired one inch from Wilpattu. During Mahinda’s and Basil’s time we assisted in settling the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim people in the area. There are several organizations and some Buddhist Monks who are bent on levelling various allegations against me. I assisted in the reconstruction of 28 Temples in Vavuniya. It is unfair to level unfounded charges against me. My motherland is Sri Lanka and not Arabia. If I have done anything wrong authorities can hang me.
Senior member of the delegates A.H.M. Fowzie said that the Media is twisting everything and if there are charges against Dr. Shafi let them first prove them and punish him.(J. A. L. Jayasinghe)