Posted on November 26th, 2009

By Noor Nizam , Sri Lanka Peace Activist, Political Activist and Independent Freelance Journalist, Canada . November 23rd., 2009.

Excerpts of a media interview held on October 30th., 2008, where Hon. Rauf Hakeem said:-
We feel belittled:

* There is a fear psychosis growing among the minorities.
* I am critical of Ranil for not using Parliament to address these issues.
* UNP is not taking a definite stand on the futility of the war.
* UNPƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s confusing mindset canƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t solve the burning issues facing the country.
* Certainly the LTTE canƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t be trusted.

To a question asked: What is the necessity for the grand alliance (to contest the SPC and NCPC) you speak of?You answered: The main opposition UNP has mooted the idea of a grand alliance and it has been discussed for some time. But some of the basic issues donƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t seem to get addressed properly like electoral reforms or devolution. Though there are occasional statements coming out of the government leadership on the rights of the minorities they hardly suffice when there is a need for a clear cut policy on this. We also find the APRC not going anywhere since it is only a devise to hoodwink the international community. We have no hope of achieving anything from that. We should form ourselves in to a pressure group on issues needing urgent attention and exposing the duplicity of key players. It doesnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t in anyway hamper the efforts of the UNP if they want to link up with us. As usual the UNP has to talk about economic issues. There are also some inhibitions on the part of the main opposition in not taking a definite stand on the futility of the war. The UNP is inhibited by the propaganda machinery of the government. ThereƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s a feeling that UNP shouldnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t be seen criticizing the war. This kind of confusing mindset canƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t solve the burning issues facing the country.

As part of the Tamil speaking minority, the Muslims are indeed in the wilderness, when issues of security, land matters, education, infrastructure development in Muslim dominated districts and public sector employment have been neglected. This negligence may have been either purposeful or manipulated by the Government and or those representing the government in the North Eastern and Eastern regions.

Even the newly elected Eastern Provincial Council has failed to provide at least redress to some extent to the issues of the Muslims highlighted above. It is the bound duty and right of the Leader of the SLMC, a political representative brokerage entity that wields influence over nearly 280,000 to 300,000 votes in the East to bring to light these matters and place them on the political table for discussion and attention of the government. The government and the opposition should be clear in their minds, hat the Muslims have a representative vote bank of nearly 820,000 votes and 32% of this vote bank is in the North Eastern and Eastern region of Sri Lanka. The balance 68% Muslims live scattered in the other parts of the country.

The victory over terrorism and the LTTE on May 17th., this year unfolded a new leaf in the annals of political administration and jargon. From being minorities, we are now Sri Lankans. This message has been made clear in this election.

HE. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has wholeheartedly and sincerely invited all Sri Lankans to give him a second mandate to fulfill the aspiration and inspiration of the (minorities), while respecting the majority interests.

The President was clear when he said, that there are two types of citizens, those who love the motherland and those who do not love the country. Let us remind HE. President Mahinda Rajapaksa that the MUSLIMS love our Motherland (Maathruboomiya) and we will always stand united to defend our country, Sri Lanka.

Then Hon. Rauf Hakeem cannot be silent anymore on the issue of supporting the appropriate Presidential candidate. When other minority leaders of the Tamil speaking people have already pledged support to HE. Mahinda Rajapaksa, and the TNA seems leaning more to this option, nothing should stop Hon. Rauf Hakeem to tell the Muslims whom to vote. It is not an issue if he had ceremonially signed the UNF MOU on 3rd November at 11.00 a.m. at the Parliamentary complex.

It is a bygone conclusion that the Muslim feel for the victory of HE. Mahinda Rajapaksa in this presidential election.

Let Mahinda Rajapaksa win. Then we will discuss the space of the minority issues and the Muslim Factor for resolution after his victory. Let us tell Hon. Rauf Hakeem:



About the writer.
The writer is a longstanding political and Peace activist who has been a Senior Party Member and district Organizer of the SLFP and later the SLMC in the Trincomalee District for many years, till recently as May 2000.He was a very close confidant of the late Hon. Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike. In 1971, he was awarded a Norwegian Agency for International Development, NORAD-Fellowship offered by the Norwegian Government. This Fellowship was offered through the Ministry of Public Administration of the Government of Sri Lanka. He pursued higher education in Norway from 1971 to 1977. After a successful public and private sector career, he is now domiciled in Canada. At present he is engaged with a leading Canadian University. The agenda for Peace in Sri Lanka and concerns of the Muslim Factor are his primary engagements. Being a Tamil speaking minority Muslim, he is also very much concerned of the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka.

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