SLMC to decide whether to continue cooperation with govt.
April 25, 2012 01:38 pm
The political committee of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) will meet on Saturday (April 28) to take a decision whether or not it should continue to work alongside the government following the controversy of the mosque in Dambulla, SLMC General Secretary Nizam Kariapper told foreign media.
The incident in Dambulla where a group led by Buddhist monks had demanded the removal of a mosque that was claimed to have been built within the Dambulla Sacred Zone will be discussed further at this meeting which will be held in Colombo.
Kariapper pointed out that when the international community was pointing fingers at Sri Lanka during the UNHRC sessions, the Islamic nations and groups had stood by the government but the government’s handling of the situation in Dambulla was not at all satisfactory.
He said that the government could have easily defuse the situation but chose not to pay the necessary attention to the issue.
Speaking to the BBC, Kariapper stated that 30 Muslim politicians currently represent parliament but some of them had not intervened in this situation while some others had tried to gain political mileage through the incident.
The incident occurred last friday (April 20) when a group of monks and lay supporters had stormed the mosque and demanded that it be shut down while protesting the fact that the government had not implemented its development plan for the area throughout the course of 30 years.
The Prime Minister, D.M. Jayaratne stated soon after the incident that the mosque would be relocated outside the sacred zone while adding that no permission had been given to anyone to build illegally within that area.
The incident has also caused widespread debate between members of the two religions.
Leader of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thero stated that this was a clear sign of a Muslim invasion which has been endorsed by certain people in the government whom he claimed should be punished severely.
He claimed that this situation was fuelled by conspiracies against the government within the government itself.
The SLMC will now decide whether it is to carry on working with the government or to detach itself from a government that they claim has failed to deal with this sensitive issue.