In defense of Muslim crossovers
Posted on December 24th, 2014

Hilmy Ahamed

The unthinkable has happened. Rishard Bathiudeen, the youthful minister of Industries has given up all his perks and privileges and crossed over to support Maithripala Sirisena, the common opposition’s candidate to challenge President Mahinda Rajapaksa with one other parliamentarian and 69 other elected members of Provincial Councils, Pradeshiya Sabbha’s etc. Azwer who was forced to resign from parliament to fulfill the long overdue promise of a national list slot for Rishard’s deputy, Ameer Ali is a disappointed man.  Rishard has been one of the incumbent governments most ardent and loyal supporters and continued to defend the government despite the onslaught on his community by extremist Buddhists that was allowed to continue with impunity. No action has been instituted against any of the perpetrators of over 350 incidents of violence and intimidation against Muslim during the last three years.

The relationship and trust between Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Rishard Bathiudeen has been envied by many including members of the incumbent government. This is probably the root cause that led Rishard Bathiudeen to take his unpleasant decision despite his unwavering support to the government and Basil Rajapaksa. The brawl at temple trees a few days back is listed as a result of treacherous scheming of certain powerful members of the current hierarchy to undermine the support and loyalty shown by Rishard Bathiudeen towards minister Basil Rajapaksa. A major onslaught on Rishard’s character has been undertaken with tacit support of certain influential persons at a private media institution. This media institution, despite their hosannas about other crossovers continue to bash Rishard, making the media outlet look more like one of the state media institutions. Whatever the reasons are, the government camp lost one of their most loyal champions.

Rishard’s list of woes could be pretty long. The unleashing of the Bodu Bala Sena on him and his community is seen as the first step in undermining him. The unfounded charges of encroachment in to the Wilpattu National Park by Rishard’s Muslim IDP’s were the beginning of the conflict between Rishard and the government. It is also claimed by Muslims of Mannar that hundreds of acres belonging to them have been appropriated by the armed forces. Large extent of lands belonging to the Muslims was also distributed by the LTTE to Tamils from the Mannar district, which has still not been returned to the Muslims.

Basil Rajapaksa who was in-charge of the presidential task force had the total responsibility for the development work undertaken at the end of the war. Rishard has made valuable contribution towards Basil’s efforts as minister in-charge of resettlement and rehabilitation in that has consolidated Basil’s position amongst the minority communities.

Rishard understood the need for support for IDPs as he himself was displaced in 1990 when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) forcibly evicted the Muslims from the Northern province with less than 24 hours notice. The Muslims were not allowed to take with them anything of value, not even the deeds to their properties. Rishard has fought for the last 24 years on behalf of his forgotten people” who have still not been provided the opportunity of returning to their former homes as they are termed old refugees”.

 The worst straw for Rishard was the besieging of his ministry by the Bodu Bala Sena and the threats made against him, which the government chose to ignore. No arrests were made, nor any action taken despite this thuggery by men in robes that was undertaken in front of the media in broad daylight.

The clear indications from the government that they would not need the support of the Sri Lanka Muslim congress confirm that negotiations with Hakeem and SLMC have failed. Whatever decision the SLMC makes will not make a huge difference in the way the Muslims would vote in this election. The SLMC in all probability would move to support the common candidate with in the next hours.

The last few Muslims to hold on and battle for Rajapaksa are seen by the community as insensitive to the suffering of the Muslim community. Faiszer Mustapaha, who fought valiantly to save the Grandpass mosque is a disappointed man as the mosque remains closed and the promised land for a new mosque has not been honoured. Further, he was an eyewitness to the pogrom in Aluthgama and Beruwela. He too was held hostage at the Naleemiya Institute on the 15th of June by the mobs that came to burn down the institute and his vehicles were damaged. No inquiry or action has been taken to bring the perpetrators of the violence in Aluthgama to justice. With all this, It remains to be seen as to when Faiszer Musthapha will announce his defection.

With the end of the war in 2009, a large percentage of the Muslim community pledged their support to His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa even though the Muslims have traditionally favoured the United National Party. Muslim civil society and religious leadership too engaged in a constructive dialogue with the president and defense secretary. Despite all this, the Bodu Bala Sena was allowed to target Muslims with its hate campaign.  It is unfortunate that elements outside the government has been able to drive a large portion of the Muslim population away from supporting this government during the last three years.  Thus, the defection from the current government is mainly due to its failure to provide security and justice to the Muslim community.

9 Responses to “In defense of Muslim crossovers”

  1. Senevirath Says:

    muslims supported mahinda because they were attacked by tamils and not because muslims like Sinhalese. islamists are the biggest threat to all other religions and social justice.

  2. Ratanapala Says:

    Trusting Muslims will be the bane of Mahinda Rajapakse. They are the most untrustworthy of this world. You can see what they do around the world. While they are not killing others they are killing each other. They are raping and killing young girls saying they are following their prophet and their Bible the Koran. Slowly they are economically taking over Sri Lanka while demographically displacing the Sinhalese from Colombo and its environs. They are breeding like rats in the rest of the country too.

    Bodu Bala Sena is only exposing the foul deeds of these vermin. They are encroaching into Buddhist places of worship – Kuragala and Dighavapiya.

    MR should not trust the Muslims again! If any are with MR it is for their own welfare and not of the whole nation.

  3. janakic Says:

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  4. Vimutti Says:

    You have to view this from the perspective of the Sinhalese Buddhist voter from the village, which is the still the LARGEST voting block in the country. They are tired of seeing what was once a Buddhist community that co-existed with Muslims being taken over by Muslims. They now have to hear the very loud Muslim Adan prayer call in the early morning hours when they are still trying to sleep, hear chickens being slaughtered during the day, they have to buy food blessed by a God they do not worship, have to shop at Muslim stores because all of the Buddhist stores have been bought by Muslims, and are now forced to look at women dressed in all black in which you can’t see if they are smiling or jeering at you from behind the veils.

    Simple arithmetic suggests that for every Muslim voter you lose because of BBS, you gain 2 Sinhalese Buddhist voters from the village. Certainly, the preference is to win with as much Muslim and Tamil support as possible, but if the fix is already in through Ranil/Maithripala/Chandrika agreements to unite the minority vote and divide the Buddhist vote so minorities can come to power in Sri Lanka (just like 1970 with Dudley of the UNP) and force Eelam on the country, then I think it is time to unite the Buddhist vote.

  5. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    Jihadist vermin thought maru sira is going to win and quickly changed sides.
    The vermin made a big mistake. This traitor stole government land and distributed to
    mossies. Mossies breed like rats. So you need more space obviously. Rats know they going to
    be votes within a few years. More votes, more control of the government. Thanks to UnPatriotic Party
    (UNP) again. Because they divide the Sinhalese, MR needs mossie support.

    I agree with all previous comments. Nobody has a good word to say about these rats.
    Everywhere they go in the world, they breed like rats. Then obviously trouble starts because
    you have to fight for resources. There is no surprise when this madness started by a man who was
    a murderous gangster. Religions founded by pious people. But this defy all logic. His last wife, Ayesha, was
    only 9 years old. Do we need to say more about this guy?

  6. Christie Says:

    I agree with the writer that Bodu Balu Sena was and is a problem. I don’t know where do they get the money from to be such a powerful institution. They are dead against Muslims and Christians of the country but seldom they are against Indians and India. They never talk about filthy rich Indian colonial parasites and how they breed to outnumber the Sinhalese and other inhabitants of the island.

  7. Lorenzo Says:

    Shame on you Dilshan.

    Dilshan has shown he is no professional. Kumar and Mahela are the real professionals. Now I know why Mahela is not given the opener’s slot. Politics. Now cricket will also be doomed like the public service.

  8. Ratanapala Says:

    Kumar Sanggakkara is a product of the colonial left over – the Trinity College of Kandy. He is simply displaying the mind of the Kalu Sudda to the hilt, which is the cult of all Thomians and Trinitians and to a lessor degree of the Royalists.

    He has no knowledge of the history or the politics of Sri Lanka. He only know what every Colombian parrots. I am sorry for him. He is a good cricketer and an honest one at that and for that we are all proud of him. He should not delve into unknown waters without properly understanding the forces at play and whether in the process he will ultimately become an instrument to destroy his motherland.

    Dilshan on the other hand has the correct instincts to understand what is good for his motherland. Which is worse a divided Sri Lanka with Sevela Sirisena or a Unitary Sri Lanka with supposedly corrupt Mahinda?

  9. Marco Says:

    End this circus of crossovers

    Courtesy of Sunday Times editorial.

    The country has been witnessing the theatrical spectacle these days of parliamentarians and lesser mortals jumping from one side to the other of the political divide. Almost all parties, big and small, have been hit by this crossover syndrome. This circus has its roots, by an unhappy co-incidence with the case of Amir Ali vs. Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and Others (2006). It was in this case that the Supreme Court tipped the scales in favour of an expelled MP over a party constitution, and opened the flood gates for crossovers.

    Earlier decisions by the Supreme Court, particularly after the expulsion of Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athulathmudali from the UNP in 1993, held that the Constitution of the Republic did not easily permit an MP to cross the floor and continue as an MP. The court also held that to ensure the fundamental rights of an elected representative of the people, the party needed to have a proper inquiry before expelling an MP. One of the judges of that court, however, held by way of Obiter Dicta (in a passing reference) that there must also be “overwhelming reasons” and that an expulsion must be for the public good. This dictum was later expanded in the Amir Ali case to make it virtually impossible for a political party to expel a member. The primacy of the party constitution was laid to rest. Later cases went this same way.

    The issue has now turned full circle and this week, the Hon. Amir Ali, having only just accepted a Nominated MPship from the UPFA, a fortnight later crossed over to the Opposition. This crazy scenario takes place regularly in the legislature and at local government level. In recent years, the voters had to put up with this madness. There were MPs de jure in the Opposition parliamentary group but were sitting de facto in the Government Cabinet. It made a mockery of the country’s Constitution and of party politics.

    But it is no joke for the voter whom these same politicians are running behind today, and with the ever-present possibility that they can jump sides at any given time with the people’s vote. The President says his Government is like the saloon door — anyone is welcome to enter or leave. As long as the boot was on one foot – that is when Opposition MPs were crossing over to the Government benches — it was fine for the ruling party. Now that boot is on the other foot also. The crossovers these days are not entirely on issues of “principle”. The issue begs the question why amending legislation is not in place to rectify the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the law.

    It has been said by MPs that they have the right to cross over, acting on their judgment and conscience, but what of the multitude of voters who sent each of them to be their representative in Parliament or in the various elected councils? The crucial election on January 8 is for one man to be the country’s chief executive. Is not the entire political firmament blurred by the antics of the many crossovers that have taken place?

    The ultimate test must surely be to give legitimacy to the will of the people. And if the Republic’s Constitution says the people are sovereign, should not the mockery of crossovers that we have seen in recent weeks be remedied?

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