Mannaar Muslims brought back from Puththa'lam stranded without facilities

[TamilNet, Saturday, 18 December 2010, 14:19 GMT]
900 displaced Muslim families brought down to Mannaar by Rishad Bathiyutheen, a minister in Rajapaksa's cabinet, are stranded without proper assistance or basic facilities in their villages in Mannaar for the past three days, the Muslim IDPs complain. Many of the IDPs brought to Thaaraapuram chose to return to Puththa’lam as there have been no preparations, but only promises extended to them by the minister, who is locked in a campaign against U. L. Muthaliph Farook, who is scheduled to fill the vacancy of late parliamentarian Noordeen Mashoor ahead of local elections expected in the early part of 2011.

670 families were brought down to Thalai-Mannaar Pier and 230 families to Tharaapuram. They said there has been no proper preparations before their arrival and that they have been left without any assistance except cooked meals for the first three days. Their houses destroyed in the war were not repaired. There were no alternative arrangements of resettlement. The bushes and jungles covering their abandoned houses are yet to be cleared, the returned Muslims in Thalai-Mannaar Pier said.

Late Noorden Mashoor had won the parliamentary seat on UNP ticket, but had switched over to UPFA. However, unlike Rauf Hakeem, he was not given any ministerial portfolios. He passed away on December 02 due to heart attack.

Muthaliph Farook is a lawyer who also contested in the last election, polling preferential votes next to Noordeen Mashoor. Mr. Farook is scheduled to take oath in the Sri Lankan parliament soon and had held discussions with the UNP a few days ago, according to media reports in Colombo.

Mr. Bathiyutheen is an opponent of SLMC leader, the late MP and the replacing MP Noordeen Mashoor.

As Mannaar Urban Council elections are nearing in January, Bathiyutheen has vowed to make Rajapaksa’s own party, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), a winner in the elections.

Opposition Muslim representatives blamed Bathiyutheen for failing the Muslim IDPs when he was minister of resettlement in the previous cabinet of Rajapaksa.

Now, the minister who holds the portfolio of industry and commerce, has brought down the families in buses promising them resettlement in an attempt to woo their votes in the upcoming local elections, they said.


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