Separate panel urged for Muslims: Report
August 24, 2010 10:04 am
The largest Muslim party in Sri Lanka has demanded a separate Presidential Commission to look into the past and present situation of the Muslims in the country.
The General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Hasan Ali told the BBC Tamil Service that they have different opinion on the present Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) appointed by the president.
Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed the LLRC to look into the reasons for the failed Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) during the period 2002-2006 and the lessons learnt from the war and ways of reconciliation after the LTTE was militarily defeated in May 2009.
Hasan Ali says that the LLRC being mandated only to cover the period between 2002-09 won’t be any way helpful in addressing the issued faced by the Muslim community since 1990.
He cites the incidents of the eviction of Muslims from Jaffna and killing of Muslim people in the Katthankudy mosque during that the early 90’s.
“The SLMC feels that the hardships faced by the Muslims due to loss of land, evictions and livelihood” cannot be brought before the present LLRC and as such won’t serve any purpose for the party to testify before it, Mr Hasan Ali told the BBC Tamil Service.
The government of Sri Lanka might have thought that there are no lessons to learn prior to 2002 says the SLMC general secretary.
Muslims of Sri Lanka would only like to have a separate presidential commission to look into and address their grievances says the leader of the largest Muslim party in the country.
Testifying before the LLRC would not be justified if the SLMC were to offer its views since the present commission is working with a limited mandate and covering a limited period says Hasan Ali.
“The Government should have thought about it”, before mandating the terms of reference of the LLRC.
The attitude of the government in ignoring the issues faced by the Mulsims in the country is very painful and as such the SLMC feels very offended according to its general secretary.
However the SLMC is planning to meet the president in the coming days to discuss with him to expand the mandate given to the LLRC so that the issues faced by the Muslims are also addressed effectively says Hasan Ali.
A delegation of the party is expected to meet the president during this week he told the BBC Tamil Service.