Rebel Muslim MPs cut committee deal
[TamilNet, Monday, 11 November 2002, 15:08 GMT]
The Government of Sri Lanka Monday appointed a committee headed by its Interior secretary to look after the interests and concerns of Muslims in the
island’s northeast in a bid to retain the crucial support of eight MPs of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, the main partner of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s ruling coalition, who have been boycotting Parliament amid allegations that the
opposition was manipulating them to instigate communal tensions in the east to scuttle the peace talks for ending the island’s conflict and to topple the United
National Front government.
The eight MPs rebelled against party leader, Mr. Rauf Hakeem, and oppose his participation in the Norway mediated peace talks between Colombo and the
The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Liberation Tigers in April to resolve the problems faced by Muslims in the northeast.
Mr. Rauf Hakeem, leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and Mr. Vellupillai Pirapaharan, the leader of the Liberation Tigers signing a Memorandum of Understanding in Kilinochchi, 14 April 2002.
Senior Sri Lankan Government officials said that the committee’s activities wouldn’t overlap or hamper the work of the Sub-committee on De-Escalation and Normalisation (SDN) established in accordance with the agreement reached between the LTTE and the The Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) in the second session of
the first round of peace talks held between them in Thailand recently.
The SDN is scheduled to meet in the east this month to
mainly discuss and explore means of addressing the
concerns of the Muslims in the region.
The following is the text of Monday’s press release
regarding the committee issued by Sri Lanka’s Ministry
“The Minister of interior on a directive of the Prime
Minister today appointed a high powered official
committee to look into the security measures of Muslim
areas in the north and east and ensure that an
effective mechanism was (sic) in place as regards law
enforcement and to bring about a rapport with all
communities in the area and to establish the identity
and safeguard interests of the Muslim community of the
The committee headed by Mr. M. N Junaid, secretary to
the Ministry of Interior, comprises Mr. T.E
Anandarajah, Inspector General of Police, Mr. Nimal
Gunatilleke DIG and commander of the Special Task
Force, Mr. Indra de Silva will serve as the secretary
to the committee (sic).
The terms of reference of the committee are as follows:1. To look into the security measures in the Muslim
areas in the north and east and to suggest law
2. Bring about a rapport with other communities in the
3. To establish and bring about a dialogue with the
Police, the STF, the armed force and the Tamil
community in the area.
4. To establish the identity and safeguard the
interests of the Muslim communities in the area.
5. To recommend measures to the government to avoid
lapses that occurred in the previous negotiations with
other communities and institutions where Muslims had
to undergo hardships and suffering.
The committee has been asked to submit a report on
these matters within one month.
The appointment of the committee is a sequel to an
assurance given by the Prime Minister to a group of
SLMC members of Parliament that the concerns they have
raised regarding security of Muslims would be
addressed and that the government was firmly committed
to protect and entrench (sic) the security of the
Muslims in relation to persons and property. The Prime
Minister has assured that the Muslims will be free and
have the right to look after their affairs like the
other communities without any hindrance or
The Prime Minister has also told the MPs that the
government has declared on many occasions that the
interest of all communities will be effectively
safeguarded through the constitutional structures that
will be established to achieve a durable peace in the