Tigers meet Muslim leaders in Batticaloa
[TamilNet, Monday, 14 February 2005, 14:24 GMT]
“First they divided us. Then they divided you. Sinhala leaders will always deny our rights. Tamil Muslim unity should be the foundation of your liberation struggle”, said Mr. I.M Ibrahim, secretary of the Mosque Federations of Amparai District, addressing senior Liberation Tiger leaders at a meeting between LTTE Muslim community leaders of Batticaloa and Amparai districts Monday in Kokkaddicholai, 15 kilometres southwest of Batticaloa town. “There are still problems, fears and doubts between us. We cannot gloss over them. We should grapple with them and build our unity at the grass roots level”, Mr. Thamilchelvan told the Muslims in his address.
“We made mistakes. No one can deny it. The Tsunami has shown us how the Sinhala government actually discriminates against us. Sinhala leaders will never treat us as equals. They achieved their aims in our homeland by dividing us. We cannot let them always divide and rule the Tamil speaking people. We should resolve to achieve our common goal together”, Mr. Thamilchelvan said.
“In recent years we, the Liberation Tigers, have been trying to work towards a political settlement for the Tamil speaking people in a peaceful and civilized way. This process has become questionable now. Hence, we will take decisions on the basis of future developments”.
“When the Tsunami struck, our leader said we should create a body to help Singhalese, Tamils and Muslims who were affected by it in the northeast. Therefore we proposed such a body to help people rebuild their lives. But the Sri Lankan government continues to prevaricate on this matter”, Mr. Thamilchelvan said.
Mr. Javath speaking at the meeting
Responding to concerns expressed by the Muslim leaders that talks with local LTTE leaders are back to square one when they leave or get killed, Mr. Thamilchelvan said: “I assure you that there will be continuity in our policy towards Muslims even if we get killed. Our lives are uncertain. We should build our relationship on a strong foundation in order to overcome this problem”.
|Col. Bhanu, speicial commander of LTTE forces in Batticaloa-Amparai addressing the meeting|
|Mr. Thamilchelvan speaking|
|Mr. E. Pararajasingham, head of Thamil Eelam Judiciary with a Mosque Federation representative|
He told the Muslims civil society leaders that to prevent any delays in resolving problems LTTE’s special commander for Batticaloa-Amparai has been empowered to take all decisions locally.
“Ullai is Muslim village completely devastated by the Tsunami. The government provided no assistance to our people there. But some persons are building a 50 foot statue for Buddha in that area. Singhalese are being settled in Ullai with the backing of the Sri Lankan armed forces. The village officer for Ullai has been forced to register the Sinhala settlers as voters there. This is how Sinhala leaders using the Tsunami as an excuse to colonise the village. Muslims on the Amparai district’s coast were severely affected by the Tsunami. We waited for more than a month for help to arrive from Colombo. But we did not get any Tsunami relief or aid. So we started protests on the streets against the Sri Lankan government”, said Mr. I. M Ibrahim.
“Our politicians do nothing. They will only scold you. We urge them to learn from the example of Tamil politicians who speak up against the government”, he added.
“There is no doubt that Thamil Eelam would be established one day. But it has to be won on the basis of Muslim Tamil unity”, said Mr. M.I Abdullah President of the Federation Mosques in Kalkudah electorate.
Addressing the meeting, Mr. A. L Abdul Javath, Secretary to Federation of Mosques in Kattankudy said: “We came here with great expectations. Your words were reassuring. We have come here as friends of the Liberation Tigers. We were involved with the Tamil liberation movement in its early stages. Our friends, relatives and students were in the early Thamil Eelam movement. In the course of time, there were differences and contradictions. But I wish to assert here that Muslims never betrayed the Tamil struggle. There might have been a few aberrations. But we, as a people, were never traitors to the Liberation struggle. Sinhala chauvinists tried to divide us. We never fell prey to their divisive schemes”.
“We have one request. You lost thousands of fighters and your people to achieve the goals of your struggle. Hence, there may be no basis for us to ask for a share of what you all have won through your struggle. Yet, we urge you to treat us equally. You were civilized in victory. You have a place in history for your military and political achievements. Let history also record that in your victory you were magnanimous to the Muslims”, Mr. Javath said.
Col. Bhanu, Special Commander of LTTE forces in Batticaloa-Amparai, Mr. E. Pararajasingham, Head of Thamil Eelam Judiciary and senior LTTE leader, Mr. V. Balakumaran also addressed the meeting.
Mr. Ilanthirayan (Marshall), Head of LTTE political division for Batticaloa-Amparai presided.
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