Trinco veteran Muslim parliamentarian dies
[TamilNet, Saturday, 01 January 2005, 09:41 GMT]
Mr.M.E.H.Mohamed Ali, veteran Muslim politician and a former parliamentarian of the Trincomalee district passed away Friday night at his residence in the east port town peacefully at the age of 77. His funeral was held Saturday morning around 11 a.m. in the Muslim cemetery in the midst of leading citizens, government officials, civil leaders and friends of all communities, family sources said.
Born in the year 1927 in Kinniya division he first unsuccessfully contested the first general election of the Sri Lanka's first parliament after the country gained political independence as a Communist Party candidate in the Muttur electorate. However at the 1952 general election he won the seat as an independent candidate. He won the seat again in 1956 general election as a United National Party candidate, sources said.
When the Muttur electorate was made a multi-member constituency in 1960 he was elected first MP on the UNP ticket and Mr.T.Ehambaram of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchchi (ITAK) became the second MP in the March general election held in the same year. However he lost the seat in the by-general election held in July in the same year. Mr.Ehambaram became the first MP and a newcomer to the politics Mr.A.L.Abdul Majeed became second MP on the Sri Lanka Freedom Party ticket in July 1960 general election
Mr.Mohamed Ali took part in the civil disobedience campaign (Satyagraha) launched by the ITAK under the leadership of Tamil leader Mr.S.J.V.Chelvanayakam that brought the civil administration in the northeast in the year April,1961. Mr.Chelvanayakam launched the campaign against the anti Tamil activities of the then SLFP government under the Prime Ministership of Ms Srimavo Bandaranaike, sources said.
Mr.Ehambaram died of heart attack on the day in March 1961 when the Satyagraha was being conducted in front of Trincomalee Government Agent office under the leadership of Mr.Mohamed Ali. The death of Mr.Ehambaram necessitated a by-election for Muttur multi-member constituency and the ITAK leader Mr.Chelvanayakam decided to field Mr.Mohamed Ali as ITAK candidate. In the by-election a notable Tamil leader Mr.C.Sutheralingam contested and lost losing his deposit but Mr.Mohamed Ali emerged victorious. In the by-election each voter was to cast one vote.
Mr.Chelvanayakam again decided to field Mr.Mohamed Ali as the ITAK candidate for the Muttur multi-member constituency though Tamil candidate of the party was ensured a clean victory because each voter was to cast two votes. Mr.Chelvanayakam took this historic decision to prove his stand that his party was working for the betterment of Tamil speaking people and not only for Tamils.
Mr.Mohamed Ali won the 1965 general election as an ITAK candidate. He contested the 1970 general election as a UNP candidate and lost. Thereafter he retired from politics.
Mr.Mohamed Ali was the first Muslim parliamentarian who spoke against the state aided colonization in the Trincomalee district and also the first MP to speak in Tamil in parliament, sources said.