Alleged killing of two Muslim youths proves peace for Muslims is distant - Subairdeen

Referring to the incident at Muttur, S. Subairdeen, leader of the Ashraff Congress yesterday said: "The alleged killing of two Muslim youths has once again proved the fact that peace for the Muslim minority in the east remains a distant dream."

The following is the full text of his statement:

"The abduction and the reported killing of two Muslim youths by an Armed Tamil Group in Sampoor, Mutur, followed by the suicide of the mother of one of the youths, have once again brought home the fact that peace and tranquillity for the Muslim minority of the region is a distant dream.

"The continued harassment of the Muslims through extortion and adduction demonstrates once more the diabolical attempt by Armed Tamil Groups to subjugate and silence the Muslims. These criminal acts have rendered the MoU between the Government and the LTTE as well as the so-called MoU between Minister Rauff Hakeem and the LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran meaningless and often damaging to the Muslims of the North-East. We blame the LTTE, the Government and Minister Rauff Hakeem for permitting these serious violations without whimper of official protest or follow-up action to trace the villain of peace. The LTTE in particular cannot merely deny any involvement in the abduction because everyone knows that nothing happens in these areas without the knowledge of the LTTE and the LTTE cadres have been the only known group to indulge in abduction and extortion directed against the Muslim minority in the region. If the LTTE is genuinely denying any involvement then relying on the capability of the LTTE we appeal to them to be helpful in tracing the culprits.

"We appeal to the Muslims of Mutur to be calm and patient because incidents of abduction directed against Muslims may be considered by the LTTE as a stepping stone for their greater recognition in the eyes of some Western capitals. We appeal to the educated Muslim youth of the North-East in particular not to permit anyone to exploit the well known anti-Muslim forces in some of these capitals to destroy or damage the historical ties of friendship between the Tamils and the Muslims in the North-East at the instance of arm-trotting Tamil Groups. The beneficiaries of the conflict had been always the arms industry thriving in Western capitals, some of whom are acting through frontal agencies and foundations to proliferate tension and conflict in the hitherto peaceful region and people.

"We urge the Government to act firmly and decisively to ensure that anyone taking the law unto their own hands notwithstanding the MoU be forthwith dealt with according to law. We also appeal to the LTTE not to stand in the way of firm governmental action and to co-operate and assist the Government in the spirit of the MoU to apprehend and deal with the offenders whose actions had resulted in the death of two sons and the mother of an innocent Muslim family.

"In the meantime we are surprised to learn that Minister Hakeem who was sent to Mutur by a special helicopter by the Prime Minister to diffuse the tension and who was compelled by the Muslims of Mutur not to move out of the area without solving their problems had turned and twisted the situation as a face-saving formula by demanding that the Prime Minister comes and apologises to him in view of the fact that he has been personally insulted by Trincomalee UNP Member of Parliament M. A. M. Mahroof and by Minister Dayaratne at Ampara on a previous occasion. If a Minister and a Member of Parliament from the Government Party which was brought to power with the fullest support of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress speaks disparagingly of the leadership of Minister Hakeem it goes on to amply demonstrate the weakness and the helplessness of the Leadership.

"At the meeting held in Akkarachchenai M. A. M. Mahroof MP had put the entire blame on Minister Hakeem for the present situation pointing out that he was the man who entered into an MoU with the LTTE and that on many occasions Minister Hakeem had openly said that he would get the LTTE to ensure the protection of life and properties of the North-East Muslims. It is a well known fact that Minister Hakeem officially participated in the peace talks held in various parts of the world, on behalf of the Government, but on his own claimed that he was participating on behalf of the Muslims. Therefore we observe that the accusation levelled against Minister Hakeem by M. A. M. Mahroof MP is not without valid reasons.

"We observe that in view of the present context it is the general opinion of the Muslims in the North-East that the resignation of Minister Hakeem would not only save the dignity of the Muslims but also the personal respect of Minister Hakeem."