The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has come under severe pressure from the eastern based Muslims not to contest the forthcoming provincial poll with the government. The SLMC, who support the government, is yet to decide whether or not to contest the election with the government.
According to SLMC general secretary and parliamentarian Hasan Ali, the SLMC supports the present UPFA government without any Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
He says the majority of the eastern based Muslims are now demanding the Congress enters into a MOU with the government if the party is to contest future elections with the government.
He said as the pressure from the voters is mounting heavily, it is unlikely the Congress would support the Rajapaksa regime during the provincial council elections.
He said the eastern province election is crucial as the Muslim concentration is high and it is the only support base for the SLMC. “Therefore we are compelled to listen to what our voters say,” he said.
He also said though the party has been supporting the government, the Muslims in the east have been given step- motherly treatment by the government and added this has angered the Muslim community.
Citing an example he said after the Hungurana Sugar Corporation was closed down the lands belonging to the Muslims were never given back.
“Instead, the government gave the lands to the employees of the Sugar Corporation as compensation. The Muslims have been denied of their fundamental rights,” he said.
He said he raised this issue a year ago at the Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting to no avail.
“At that time I requested for a special committee to address this issue. But so far nothing has been done,” he said.
The SLMC will meet this week in the east to take a final decision about the elections.
Ali says supporting the government and not supporting, depends on what the local representatives say.