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‘Don’t fall prey to extremists’

Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha alleged that extremists among both communities were making an attempt to capitalize on the recent tension at Dambulla.


Deputy Minister
Faizer Mustapha

He said he wouldn’t encourage animosity towards any community as he didn’t want to contribute to the ongoing efforts to destabilize the country. ‘It would be a crime to seek political gain at the expense of national reconciliation, he said.

‘The people of all faiths should have the freedom to practice their religion in any part of the country.

“The country suffered for 30 years due to LTTE terrorism.

‘The Muslims, particularly those living in the Northern and Eastern Provinces experienced hardships. They wouldn’t have been able to reclaim their land if not for the triumph over terrorism in May, 2009,” the Deputy Minister said.

He said he had been in touch with the President, Defence Secretary and the Muslim religious leaders to ensure protection and the continuity of the place of worship.

The need was to convince both parties not to engage in actions that may provoke fresh incidents, he said, pointing out that the vast majority of Buddhists as well as Muslims realized that interested parties were making an attempt to exploit the situation for their advantage.

“Don’t blame me for not using the Dambulla incident to boost my image. I never tried to appease the LTTE or any other armed group.

"Why should I be subservient to anyone? We need to deviate from present political strategies. If we don’t change even after armed forces’ victory over the LTTE, all of us should be ashamed,” he said.

"The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) issued statements both in English and Arabic condemning the government, while trying to portray a bleak picture of post-war Sri Lanka.

“The UK based GTF, which didn’t even bother to urge the LTTE to release Tamil people held hostage in the Mullaitivu district in the final phase of the conflict, was now shedding crocodile tears for Muslims, the deputy minister said.

‘The GTF couldn’t have any interest in the Dambulla incident, he said. ‘The Muslims should realize the LTTE rump was playing a

dangerous game. The GTF which pursued an international war crimes investigation targeting the Sri Lankan government, obviously believed the Dambulla incident could be used to drive a wedge between the government and Muslim countries, he said.

Musthahpa said the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the newly formed Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) issued statements critical of the government.

‘They wouldn’t find it easy to deceive the people, he said.

‘The TNA was making an obvious attempt to use the Dambulla dispute to justify its long standing allegations against Sri Lanka.

‘The GTF should explain its position on the Oslo massacre as the Norwegian mass murderer had declared he was inspired by how the LTTE drove the Muslims out of the Northern Province in 1990.

The killer also referred to the Mosque attacks carried out by the LTTE and the Anuradhapura massacre of Buddhists.

Deputy Minister Mustapha praised the Muslim clergy, the President and the Defence Secretary for taking prompt action to defuse the situation.

Most importantly, the people of both communities, who refused to be provoked by those hell bent on causing chaos should be applauded, he said. The deputy minister said that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) as the dominant political party should promote itself among the Tamil people.

‘That would be of pivotal importance to end the dependence on other political parties, he said.

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