President Mahinda ensured the safety of Muslims in the Eastern Province – says Minister Dallas Alahapperuma
It was President Mahinda Rajapaksa who ensured of the safety of the Muslims living in the Eastern Province and if he did not become the President in 2005 the fate of the Eastern province Muslims would have been similar to what happened to the Muslims who lived for centuries in the Northern Province districts.
This was stated by the Minister of Youth Affairs and Skillked Development Mr. Dallas Alahapperuma addressing a meeting in Matara Sunday. Mr. Alahapperuma said he accompanied Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa when he went to Akkaraipattu in October 2005 as a Presidential Candidate and at the meeting he addressed Mr. Rajapaksa gave only one promise to the Eastern Province Muslims and that was that he would never allow the terrorists to subjugate the Eastern province Muslims and he would make every step to ensure the safety of the Muslims, from the megalomaniac Prabhakaran and his terrorist forces.
The Minister reminded that before Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa became President the Muslims were subjected to inhuman extortions by the terrorists and they forcibly made them destitute by grabbing their properties and extorting huge sums from the wealthy Muslims in the Eastern province, and the UNP government of Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe did not take any measure to protect these harassed Muslims. He said that if Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa did not become President in November, 2005 the Muslims in the Eastern Province would have been forcibly evicted from the Province as it was done in the North by the terrorists with a short notice of 24 hours and allowing them only to take a few items of personal belonging in a polythene bag forcing them to settle down in Puttalam and Eastern Province Muslims would have got the option of coming to places like Weligama, and Galle in the Southern Province.
Mr. Alahapperuma said that it was with the objective of carrying out this forcible eviction the terrorists attacked places like Muttur and Sampur forcing them to flee to the nearby Sinhala villages such as Kantale and closed the Mavil Aru anicut denying water for the people. He said at this stage the President took the irreversible decisions for our security forces to attack the terrorists and get the Mavil Aru reopened. The Minister reminded that the UNP leader Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe opposed the direct fight with the terrorists, saying that it was meaningless to wage a war for the simple matter of getting water and wanted the government to hold talks with the terrorists without sacrificing the lives of the security forces. He said that the UNP leader was not concerned at all about the hardships the people had to face by the terrorist action and wanted only to protect the terrorists. He said that not only the Mavil Aru operation was carried out until the liberation of the whole Eastern province but the Muslims forced to flee from Muttur and adjoin areas were resettled in their original places within a short period of 40 days.
Referring to the Municipal Council elections in Matara, Mr. Alahapperuma said that UNP in the face of imminent defeat in the Matara Municipal Council has resorted to a mud campaign and espousing communal hatred within the Municipal Council area. He urged the UNP and those who carry out the UNP campaign in Matara to enter into clean politics and stop espousing communal hatred that could damage the peaceful amity existing between the Sinhala and Muslim communities since a long time. He said that it is a significant sign of this amity that the Sinhala majority Weligama Urban Council elected Mr. Mohammed, who is present at the stage as the Chairman of the Weligama Urban Council with over 6,000 preferential votes instead of resorting to communal politics and electing a Sinhala candidate for the Chairman’s post. He further said that it is a welcome sign about strengthening the Sinhala/Muslim unity in Matara to find a large crowd of Muslim women being present at the meeting despite UNP’s communal campaign.
Addressing the meeting the Deputy Minister of Road Development Mr. Nirmala Kotelawala said that Matara, being the birth place of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has a special preference and blessing from the President and plans have been drawn up to develop the City of Matara as one of the best cities in Sri Lanka. He said that a project of carpeting 14 by roads in Matara at a cost of Rs. 140 Million was launched Sunday morning as a part of this development plan.
The Parliamentarian of Matara district and the Chief SLFP Organisor of the Matara electorate Mr. Sanath Jayasuriya said that Matara has all the blessings of the President to develop the City as one of the best cities in the country and urged the people not to get misled by the communal politics of the UNP and rally round the candidates of the United People’s Freedom Alliance and ensure the historical victory for the UPFA that is imminent.
The Chairman of the Weligama Urban Council Mr. M.Mohamed, Provincial Councillors Mr. Anura Gunaratne, and Mr. Sarath Yapa Abeywardene, and the UPFA candidate Mr. Mohamed Zafar also addressed this meeting which was attended by a large crowd.