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Human Rights violations of LTTE ignored - Rishad

2014 Mar 21

Tiger terrorists destroyed 20,000 houses, 79 mosques and over 60 schools of Muslims in the Northern Province and a similar number of houses, temples and schools of the Sinhalese community. It is a pity that no one is highlighting these human rights violations by the terrorists, leaving unfounded allegations against the Sri Lankan government to go unchallenged, Commerce and Industry Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said.

Addressing a media conference in Colombo on Tuesday, the minister said Muslim and Sinhala communities who lived in the North for centuries were forcibly expelled from the Northern Province by Tiger terrorists and they had to live over 20 years under pathetic conditions in coconut estates in Puttalam, Anuradhapura and Kurunegala districts.

The minister said he too was one of the refugees expelled from Mannar by the Tigers. Minister Bathiudeen said people expelled from the Northern Province have been able to return to their original habitats only after establishing lasting peace in the country by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He pointed out that Muslim and Sinhala communities have lived amicably in peace and harmony for centuries and it is essential to strengthen the reconciliation efforts being carried out by the government. Speaking about espousing of communal hatred by extremist elements, the minister said these activities only harm the country and it strengthens the anti-Sri Lankan elements operating from overseas.

He requested extremist elements to cease activities and propaganda that lead to divisions among the communities. The minister said the Bodu Bala Sena Organisation recently alleged that he was settling Muslims in the Mannar district by clearing jungles and pointed out these were the people of this country, who lived in this country for centuries and not people from foreign countries ,who are being resettled ensuring their right to live in this country.

"The jungles had to be cleared because their original habitats have become covered with forests over the last 20 years," he added.

Speaking about the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, the minister said at the initial stages of terrorism there were several terrorist organisations such as the LTTE, TELO, EPRLP and so on and the youth in the Northern and Eastern provinces at that time were blindly joining these organisations. He said it was to stop Muslim youth also getting lured by the false propaganda of these organisations that Minister Ashraff formed the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and the gang that hijacked this party following Ashraff's death, resorted to espousing Communalism to garner votes on a communal basis at elections and they discard the Muslims after elections like curry leaves and obtain personal benefits by joining the government. The minister called upon the Muslims to reject these communal elements and strengthen the friendship with other communities and make every effort to live safeguarding unity in the country. (
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