Muslim ministers who served in the former 'Yahapalana' government resigned without supporting the no-confidence motion brought against Rishad Bathiudeen after the Easter Sunday attack, not in the hope of protecting him, but to protect the United National Party (UNP) Government, former minister MP Kabir Hashim informed the PCoI probing the Easter Sunday attacks on Thursday.
Testifying before the Commission, former minister Kabir Hashim said that he did not support Rishad Bathiudeen during the no-confidence motion realising that if he had supported Bathiudeen, he would have not been able to return to his native area.
The former minister made the above statement in response to a question raised by the representative from the Attorney General's (AG) department regarding the reason all Muslim ministers in the former government resigned together, after the Easter Sunday attack.
"At the time I was the Chairman of the UNP. The opposition party brought a no-confidence motion in Parliament against Rishad Bathiudeen alleging his involvement in the Easter Sunday attack, but it was really against the government," he revealed.
The former minister further explained that if the UNP ministers voted in favour of the no-confidence motion, it would have affected the whole government and the stability of the country at that time.
"I explained this situation to former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and I asked him whether we should ask Bathiudeen to resign from his position. However, minister Bathiudeen didn't like that. We then decided to resign en bloc compelling Rishad Bathiudeen to resign as well," he said.
Former minister Hashim further added that he did not want UNP MPs to vote for Rishad Bathiudeen. If it was just against Bathiudeen, they would not have had a problem for voting against him.
"At that time, if the opposition won the no-confidence motion, our government would also have collapsed. So we decided to resign from our positions because we wanted to get rid of Bathiudeen. We didn't want to protect him," he said. (Yoshitha Perera)