Meeting resolves to prevent communal unease in Musali

[TamilNet, Saturday, 03 May 2003, 13:07 GMT]
Representatives of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, the Catholic Church, the Liberation Tigers, Sri Lanka Police, several civil society groups and local community leaders met Saturday in Murunkan in the Mannar District to discuss measures to promote and cement Tamil, Muslim amity in the Musali region. Tension prevailed in the area last month following the murder of a Tamil farmer allegedly by a Muslim believed to be an ex home guard. Musali is in the southwestern part of mainland Mannar where Muslim refugees have been resettling and cultivating their lands since last year.

The meeting resolved to prevent incidents that could destabilise communal harmony in Musali and other parts of mainland Mannar where Muslims are resettling. Tamil community leaders who took part in the meeting claimed that the murder of the farmer was deliberate and premeditated, aimed at instigating violence between Muslims and Tamils.

They pointed out that relations between the two communities are exceptional in the region and that Tamils had helped resettling Muslims by ploughing their paddy fields for free and by assisting them rebuild their homes.

Muslim community leaders and Minister Assisting Vanni Rehabilitation, Mr. Noordeen Mashoor, said they too were greatly pained and concerned by the incident and that concerted action should be taken to prevent the activities of mischief makers.

The minister promised that he would ensure that no untoward incident will be allowed to disrupt Muslim Tamil relations in the Murunkan- Musali region in the future.

A Tamil farmer, Sivapakkiyam Peter, 42 of Pontheevukandal, in the Musali-Murunkan region was shot dead by a Muslim identified as Mohamed Uffar on 20 April. The motive for the murder is yet to be established. A Muslim owned shop and a paddy bags were burnt by unidentified persons as tension prevailed in the area following the murder.

Several community leaders accused the Police of inaction when the murder was committed. The suspect is now in remand.

However, normalcy was restored when the Liberation Tigers, the Catholic Church, the Jeevothayam Methodist Church farm and local community leaders intervened in the matter.

Saturday’s meeting was convened with the backing of the Murunkan traders’ association to “further cement the communal amity and to prevent the recurrence of destabilising incidents”, its spokesman said.

Mannar Catholic Church’s Vicar General, Rev. Anthony Xavier Cruz, the district’s Additional GA Mr. A. Nicolapillai LTTE’s deputy political head for the region Mr. M. Arunothayan, Mannar Assistant Superintendent of Police Mr. Shantha Udapamunuwa were also present at the meeting.

 

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