SLMC, NUA remember late leader Ashraff
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 16 September 2003, 14:26 GMT]
The third death anniversary of the founder leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and National Unity Alliance, Mr.M.H.M.Ashraff, was observed Tuesday in the country by the rank and file of his party and its breakaway groups, sources said.
The late Mr. Ashraff, one time Cabinet minister, Member of Parliament and founder leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and the National Unity Alliance, died on September 16, 2000 while on his way to his home district, Amparai, in a Sri Lanka Air Force special helicopter, which crashed in Aranayake in the Sabragamuwa province, sources said.
Even today, the mystery behind the helicopter crash is not yet known and the report of the Presidential Commission appointed to unravel the mystery is not yet released, sources said.
Twenty-two years ago, Mr. Ashraff founded the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and before this Muslims politicians aligned themselves with the two major Sinhala-dominated political parties, the United National party and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, sources said.
A son of the eastern soil, he had his primary education at Wesley College, Kalmunai. In 1970 he joined the Law College in Colombo. Later, he became a State Counsel in the Attorney general’s department. He practised in Kalmunai for some time. He was later conferred with the title of President's Counsel (PC), sources said.
After his untimely demise, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and National Unity Alliance broke into three groups. Mr.Rauff Hakeem rose to the leadership of the SLMC. Mr.Ashraff’s wife, Ms. Ferial Ashraff, brought the NUA under her command. Later, the SLMC under the leadership of Mr.Rauff Hakeem broke into two groups. The breakaway group led by Minister Mr. A.L.M.Athaullah has been named as Ashraff Congress, sources said.
The rank and file of the three groups Tuesday organized several events in the country mainly in the eastern province in remembrance of their late leader whose main aim, political sources said, was to bring all Muslims in the country under one banner to achieve their political aspirations.
The declaration of the SLMC as a national political party on 19th November, 1986, and later the launch of the National Unity Alliance by Mr. Ashraff were considered as milestones in the history of Sri Lanka’s Muslim politics, political sources said.
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