Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), the main Muslim party in Sri Lanka, will demand the meaningful implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution when extending its support to whichever party at the election to the Eastern Provincial Council.
The SLMC conducted a two-day workshop last week to seek the views of the rank and file of the party on the party’s stand to be taken at the election, widely speculated in political circles to be conducted in September. The participants of the workshop were divided into several groups and discussed issues. Later, each group submitted its proposals to leader Minister Rauff Hakeem. SLMC General Secretary M.T. Hasan Ali told the Daily Mirror that, all in all, the members had stressed the need to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with whichever party it decided to align with.
“Some members want a Muslim chief minister for the east. A mere Muslim chief minister cannot resolve problems under the present circumstances. The 13th Amendment should be meaningfully implemented with land and police powers devolved. Besides, members are perturbed over land issues of the Muslims. During the war time, the LTTE did not allow Muslims to cultivate their lands in areas such as Unnichchai, Batticaloa. Now, the war is over. These lands have not been restored to their rightful owners,” he said.
Mr. Ali said that the party would convene a meeting of its High Command later this week to take a final decision.
“At the moment, we are with the government without any understanding. We are not bound to contest elections with the ruling party alone. We need anyone seeking our support to fulfill the Muslim aspirations,” he said.
BY KELUM BANDARA
Source: Daily Mirror – Sri Lanka