Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader, Minister of Justice Rauf Hakeem said the SLMC was not only disappointed with some actions taken by the government but also strongly criticised it.
Commenting on the appointment of members to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) at an election rally in Negombo, the Minister said despite being the party with the second highest number of seats in the government, the SLMC did not have a seat in it.
“They broke tradition by not allocating a seat for us. They haven’t even given a seat to Prof. Tissa Vitharana, Chairman of the All Party Repetitive Committee (APRC),” he said.
Hakeem went on to say that due to extremist groups within the government reports from the PSC would not be accepted. “Who will accept these reports? The UNP is not part of the Committee, the Tamil National Alliance is protesting against it, the JVP call it a joke and meanwhile, a party in the government with the second largest number of seats also have no place in it,” he said.
The Minister went on to say the government changed its policies for individuals and groups with a smaller percentage in the government. “If the government is changing their policies for minority groups then we too will have to prove that we have a substantial voter bank,” he said.
The Minister also countered claims by Youth Affairs and Skill’s Development Minister Dullas Alahapperuma of secret agreements signed with the LTTE during the 2004 ceasefire agreement.
“We did not take the initiative to meet the LTTE during the ceasefire. We were there as the government and the international community requested our presence,” he said.
Commenting on the statement made by Alahapperuma that the party had not taken any measures for Muslims expelled from the Northern Province during the war, Hakeem said he had presented a report on the war situation and the effects on the Muslim community to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.(Darshana Sanjeewa & Ranjith Ferdinandos)