Although it is claimed that the east was liberated and democracy was restored, the prevailing situation is quite the contrary with the number of road barriers increasing day by day and security forces being massed at every nook and corner of the three districts in the Eastern Province, Trincomalee district UNP chief candidate and SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem said at an election meeting in Muttur in the run up to the May 10 PC polls. The number of youths being kidnapped was increasing by the day, causing a state of terror and tension among the people and preventing the opposition from going for campaigning due to fear and threats he said. Ten youths were abducted from Trincomalee recently, he said.
The upcoming PC Elections to the east is a matter of self-respect and welfare not only to the Muslim community of the province but also to the entire minority communities throughout the country. The May 10 PC election is very significant in the history of the Muslim community because the government's motive is to destroy their political power base and consequently reduce them to second class citizens, he added. If the government's undemocratic and unscrupulous efforts to capture power in the province succeeded the community will become a political pawn in the hands of the others with no powers to decide anything on their own.
"We took a well considered decision to context polls on the UNP's elephant symbol in the best interests of our people and the decision was unanimously supported by our party delegates in Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara districts", the party leader explained.
The SLMC leader further said at the meeting:
"Our decision to contest the polls in alliance with the UNP is a well considered strategy to protect the rights and welfare of the minority communities. For the government this is PC election, for the UNP this is equal to parliamentary election but for SLMC this is as significant as the Presidential election. Our fellow Tamil brothers have to recognise us as their friendly political power interested in their political future, welfare and security.
"The Tamil community in the east is in tight spot. The two Tamil candidates Varadan and Parasuraman are unable to go campaigning. In the circumstances, we consider it our responsibility to install a just administration in which they can participate fearlessly. We have to ensure their future security as well.
"Devolution of power under the 13th amendment to the constitution has to start from the province and this includes powers relating to land, land settlements and police. It naturally implies that the centre would have to devolve powers once the people of the region mandate their aspiration toward achieving that. It should be the endeavour of the provincial administration to work toward that goal. For this very significant reason, we had to quit our parliamentary representation and contest the PC polls."