"Third force" behind eastern troubles - Minister
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 09 July 2002, 19:16 GMT]
"The Liberation Tigers have no hand in the recent troubles in the East. They very keenly interested in taking forward the peace process," said Mr. M. H. Mohammed, a veteran Muslim political leader of the ruling United National Party and cabinet minister, at a press conference Tuesday afternoon at his ministry following a tour in the districts of Batticaloa and Ampara during the weekend.
Mr. Mohammed, the Minister for the development of the island's western region said: "a third force, which is against the peace process, was responsible for the recent troubles in the eastern province."
"During our visit to Kalmunai, Eravur and Valaichchenai Muslim people told us that there has been no threat from the LTTE to them in the eastern province," Mr. Mohammed said.
Minister of Co-operatives Mr. A. R. M. Cader and UNP national list parliamentarian Mr. 'Myown' Mustapha were also present at the press briefing.
"An Alliance of the Muslim parliamentarians and ministers will be formed to secure the rights of Muslims in the north and east of the country and to ensure their protection ," Mr. Mohammed said. The leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, Minister Rauff Hakeem, has given his consent to the formation of this alliance, Mr. Mohammed added.
Mr. Mohammed, a former speaker of Sri Lanka's Parliament, said, "there are twenty-six Muslim parliamentarians representing Muslims in the parliament irrespective of political parties. We have arrived at a decision to bring all Muslim parliamentarians and ministers under one umbrella irrespective of party politics".
"Once the Alliance of Muslim parliamentarians and ministers has been formed we will meet the Prime Minister to work out a program for the betterment of the Muslims in the northeast," Mr. Mohammed said.