Addressing a press briefing at the Renuka Hotel organized by the Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum today, the Muslim Parliamentarians alleged that latest Wilpattu controversy is based on a political agenda.
The MPs noted that during the three decade conflict in Sri Lanka, Muslims continuously sided with the Government but today the Muslims are being targeted by the very-side that they once supported.
State Minister of Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs M.L.A.M. Hizbullah, Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen, State Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation A. H. M. Fowzie, Colombo District MP Mujibur Rahman, President of the Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum N. M. Ameen, and Leader of the National Unity Front Azath Salley, were among those who addressed the press briefing.
Minister Bathiudeen said that the latest controversy over the Wilpattu resettlement is another attack on the Northern Muslim IDPs.
“There are no Muslim families living within the Wilpattu reserve. The areas being talked about are out of the boundary of the reserve and legally taken,” he said.
Minister Bathiudeen said that Muslims who have been living in the Maruthamadu GS Division in the Museli Divisional Secretariat were among those who were forcibly evicted from the North by the LTTE.
“They were victims of ethnic cleansing in these areas. While they were displaced and living elsewhere, on 2012 October 10 the then Government issued a gazette changing the name of the Maruthamadu GS Division to Villathikulam. This gazette acquired forest land using GPS and land belonging to IDPs were also in this acquisition. Later, the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) allocated land back to the IDPs and the latest issue is created around some of these LLRC allocated lands incorrectly showing them as illegally used. This is an attack on the Northern Muslim IDPs. I request the Government to resolve this issue,” Bathiudeen said.
Colombo District MP Mujibur Rahman said that allegation on the resettlement of Muslim IDPs is against the government’s reconciliation process. He called on the Government to resolve the issue without delay. (Colombo Gazette)