Prabhakaran’s personal gurantee to Hakeem
Muslims will not be forced to fund LTTE’s armed struggle

by Zacki Jabbar
The LTTE has assured the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress(SLMC), that it would no longer compel Eastern Province Mulsims to fund its armed struggle and is agreeable to a SLMC representative taking part in peace talks between the Government and LTTE scheduled to be held in Thailand in May.

The guarantees given personally by LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran to SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem in Killinochchi on Saturday have been included in a Memorandum of Understading (MOU), entered into by the two parties after a three-hour deliberation.

Leader of the SLMC Rauff Hakeem speaking to "The Island" on his first face-to-face meeting with Prabhakaran said he had explained in detail Muslim apprehensions of LTTE controlled administrations in the North and East considering the sufferings they have had to undergo".

"We concentrated mainly on confidence building measures.Prabhakaran, I must say, had a very open attitude contrary to the general perception of the man.He was willing to consider Muslim apprehensions. He assured that all undertakings given to ensure the safe return of Muslims to the North and East would be honoured and that they need not have any fears in this regard"

In terms of the MOU Muslims displaced from Jaffna, Wanni and the East would be permitted to return to their homes and lands which they owned prior to being driven out by the LTTE over the last decade.This process would be monitored by a joint committee consisting of SLMC and LTTE representatives.

The MOU also recognises the fact that Muslims are a separate community with their own identity and political and cultural rights.

The LTTE delegation for the meeting which took place at the LTTE’s Killinochchi political headquarters inlcuded its Chief Spokesman Anton Balasingham, Political Wing leader Thamil Chelvam and Adele Balasingham.

The SLMC team that accompanied Hakeem included party chairman A.L.M. Athaullah,Senior Deputy leader M.Uthumalebbe and Deputy leader Mohideen Abdul Cader.