While rejecting allegations levelled against him, Minister Rishad Bathiudeen yesterday vouched that neither Mujibur Rahman nor Azath Salley had any involvement in extremist terror outfits but said he can’t keep track of daily activities of each and everyone he interacts with.
He told a news briefing held at the Minister of Industry and Commerce in Colombo yesterday that he was not involved in getting any suspects arrested in Mawanella or Wanathawilluwa, released.
The minister said his siblings and MP Rahman or Governor Salley had no connection with any extremist terror outfits as claimed.
“I know that my two brothers and two sisters have no links with any extremist terror organisations. At the same time, I personally don’t know who are renting their houses or who come into their houses. If anyone has done any wrongdoing, the law enforcement authorities should take action against them and I can’t intervene,” he said.
When asked whether MP Rahman or Governor Salley were involved in getting any of the suspects released, the minister said, “As I said they are not involved in any extremist terror outfits,”
When asked whether he maintained any relationship with Easter Sunday terror attack mastermind Zahran Hashim, the minister said he had never even met that person.
Commenting on the arrest of the spice trader Mohammad Yusuf Ibrahim, the minister said Ibrahim had been felicitated by even former presidents and ministers but that doesn’t mean that they knew what was going on in the spice trader’s life.
Meanwhile, he said all terrorist and extremist groups should be banned and said the Muslim Religious Affairs Ministry should take the responsibility in streamlining Madrassas and ban Muslim extremist outfits.
“The ministry should monitor Madrassas, its curricula and the foreigners who are teaching in these schools. When a mosque is being built, the ministry, along with the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) should look into the necessity of building a new mosque. This should also be streamlined,” the minister said. (Lahiru Pothmulla)
Pix by Damith Wickramasinghe