Drugs causing Mannar woes, Hakeem told
[TamilNet, Monday, 11 October 2004, 18:36 GMT]
President of the Mannar Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Mr. M. A Cader, Monday accused Police of having a hand in exacerbating friction between religious communities in the region. He was addressing a meeting at the Mannar District Secretariat between Mr. Rauf Hakeem, leader of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and the Government Agent, officials, Mr. Selvam Adaikalanathan, Tamil National Alliance MP and local community leaders. Mr. Hakeem visited Mannar Monday to find out and discuss problems faced by Muslims in the district.
Addressing the meeting, Mr. M.M Saburudeen, a leading lawyer and civil society activist, emphasised that drug trafficking is at the bottom of the many social problems in Mannar. He urged everyone to first find a way to eradicate the 'drug menace' in the district. He observed that never before in Mannar's modern history there was communal friction. "There appears to be a hidden hand behind the communal friction in Mannar", Mr. Saburudeen said.
The SLMC leader met Mannar Bishop, Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph earlier in the day and discussed concerns of Muslims in some villages in Mannar Island following the attack on the Liberation Tigers' office last week.
He told the Bishop that the Tigers should take steps to assuage the concerns of the Muslims in the Karisal area over the repercussions of the attack on LTTE political office in Mannar town.
The Bishop explained to Mr. Hakeem the steps taken by LTTE and religious and community leaders to address the issue amicably through dialogue.
Mr. Hakeem later visited Karisal, the Muslim coastal village, 15 kilometres west of Mannar town, from which a group of persons had allegedly gone to attack LTTE political office last week.
The attack was triggered by the killing of a man from Karisal last week who is believed to be a kingpin in drug smuggling from South India to Colombo.
Liberation Tigers have been campaigning in the district since last year to create greater public awareness against drug abuse and to stop trafficking.