Political outfit under fire for NTJ links hits back …counter accusations against BCAS Campus
Posted on May 30th, 2019

Courtesy The Island

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National Front for Good Governance (NFGG) leader and entrepreneur Abdul Rahuman hits back at critics, who accuse him of having had links with the National Thowheed Jamath while Najah Mohamed, General Secretary of the outfit looks on. They vowed to pursue political objectives regardless of challenges in the wake of April 21 bombings.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The National Front for Good Governance (NFGG) leader Abdul Rahuman, yesterday, said political parties contesting the Batticaloa electoral District at the last parliamentary polls in August 2015 had received an invitation from the now proscribed National Thowheed Jamat (NTJ) to discuss ways and means of ensuring a peaceful election.

The NTJ’s Zahran Hashim had been present at this meeting, Rahuman said, alleging that an attempt was now being made to link him as well as British College of Applied Studies aka BCAS Campus with those who perpetrated the Easter Sunday suicide bombing campaign.

Rahuman said so addressing the media at Mandarina Hotel, Galle road. The NFGG leader called the media in the wake Bodubala Sena General Secretary Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera calling for his arrest and the proscription of NFGG over their alleged links to the April 21 bombing campaign which he called terrorism.

The government proscribed NTJ and two other organizations following the Easter attacks.

Ven. Gnanasara called a media briefing soon after President Sirisena pardoned him.

Rahuman said that one -time Chairperson of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Prof. Kshanika Hirumburegama functioned as the Dean of the BCAS Campus.

Rahuman, a Paradeniya University Engineering graduate emphasised that BCAS was only a higher education institute. He strongly condemned attempts to depict BCAS as a religious school and tarnish its image.

When The Island sought an explanation from Rahuman as to how he had contested August 2015 parliamentary polls as his NFGG received recognition only in 2017, he said that he contested on the SLMC ticket. Rahuman disclosed how he secured nomination as a result of what he described as a tripartite agreement involving the UNP, the SLMC and the NFGG. “The SLMC contested in Batticaloa on its own though in Trincomalee all contested under the UNP ticket. The NFGG fielded a medical doctor in the Trincomalee District.”

Another NFGG candidate had contested the neighbouring Trincomalee District also on the UNP ticket, Rahuman said.

Rahuman alleged that photographs taken at the meeting arranged by the NTJ in Kattankudy way back in 2015 had been used to link the NFGG to those involved in the Easter Sunday carnage.

Responding to another query by The Island, Rahuman said that his outfit had thrown its weight behind common candidate Maithripala Sirisena at the 2015 presidential election. At the previous presidential election in 2010, too, the NFGG had backed the common candidature of the then General Sarath Fonseka, Rahuman said, responding to another The Island query.

Rahuman strongly defended his right to meet with Zahran’s outfit as at that time it was a legitimate organization. Pointing out that in addition to him there had been many other politicians, including M.L.A.M. Hisbullah, who contested on the UPFA ticket, at the Kattankudy meeting, Rahuman said that Ven Gnanasara was trying to find fault with him for something that occurred after Zahran took a different path.

Rahuman said: “I was overseas when Ven Gnanasara called upon the government to arrest me and have my party proscribed over Easter Sunday attacks. Here I am!”

According to Rahuman, his outfit had held talks with the NTJ during 2015 and 2016 before Zahran went underground in March 2017. Asked whether Zahran had been in touch with him after his disappearance, Rahuman answered in the negative.

Declaring that there was absolutely no basis for Ven Gnanasara’s accusations directed at him, NFGG and BCAS, Rahuman claimed that these claims were based on a web report posted on Aug 28, 2007. Rahuman said that his response to the report, too, was promptly posted by Asia Tribune, hence there couldn’t be any ambiguity.

According to Rahuman following his split with the NTJ, the latter had targeted NFGG. He said that the NTJ targeted the NFGG at the last Local Government polls in Feb 2018 though the former didn’t contest.

Rahuman said that there were relentless politically motivated attempts to target them and various others.

Those who had conveniently ignored serious disputes between the NTJ and NFGG beginning 2017 accused him and SLMC candidate Shibly Farook of attempting to send Zahran abroad.

Rahuman said that his investments in Qatar in two restaurants, too, had been portrayed as something illegal by those who accused him of owning hotels.

Asked by The Island whether the accusations directed at the NFGG should be considered along with the recent arrest of Dr. Seigu Siyabdeen Mohamed Saafi of the Kurunegala hospital for allegedly carrying out a clandestine serialization project and also the taking into custody of wealthy businessman and Mohammed Yusuf Ibrahim on the JVP National List whose two sons carried out suicide blasts, Rahuman said investigations were still continuing. He asserted that the public shouldn’t reach conclusions on those matters until investigations were finalized.

Both at 2010 and 2015 presidential elections, the UNP-TNA-JVP-SLMC functioned as coalitions. On both occasions, candidates backed by them contested under Swan symbol.

Rahuman said that there were relentless politically motivated attempts to target them and various others.

Those who had conveniently ignored serious disputes between the NTJ and NFGG beginning 2017 accused him and SLMC candidate Shibly Farook of attempting to send Zahran abroad.

Rahuman said that the situation in the wake of the Easter violence should be examined against the backdrop of forthcoming presidential and parliamentary polls in Dec-January 2019/2020 and the parliamentary poll in 2020.

The public should be wary of those trying to divert attention from real issues, Rahuman said, insisting that he didn’t have anything to hide.

Rahuman dismissed calls for his arrest as he returned to the country after Ven. Gnanasara launched his fresh campaign.

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