Muslims rights will be safeguarded - Prime Minister
[TamilNet, Sunday, 15 December 2002, 17:00 GMT]
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe Sunday assured the Muslim community that his government would do everything in its power to safeguard the rights of Muslims in the eastern province when finding a negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict in the peace talks between the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and would never let down Muslims at any stage of the peace talks, when he addressed the gathering in Madwela, Kandy, sources said.
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister addressed the Meelad UN Nabi celebrations held under the auspices of the
Muslim Religious Cultural Affairs at Madeena Maha Vidyalayam (national school) in Madawela in the Kandy district Sunday afternoon as the chief guest.
Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe further said his government would not allow any attempt to tarnish Islam.
Minister and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Mr.Rauff Hakeem said that he would strengthen the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) as the only credible organization to represent the Muslims in this country. He added the next year Meelad UN Nabi celebrations would be held at Eravur Ali Zahir Maha Vidyalayam
Meanwhile SLMC dissidents' leader Mr.Athaullah addressing a press conference Sunday in Colombo said that Mr.Rauff Hakim does not have the status to represent the Muslims of the country in the peace talks now being held in several stages in different countries.
"The government can include Mr. Hakim as a member of the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) delegation that attends peace talks. We are against Mr. Hakim being named as the sole representative of the Muslims at the peace talks. Muslims should be represented by a group of selected intelligensia of the community," said Mr.Athaullah.