Minister of Commerce and Industry Rishad Bathiudeen has reiterated that he never made any threat to the Mannar Magistrate and District Judge, and had not seen the Judge or contacted him over any matter.
He said that as a responsible Minister, he knows the gravity of the crime and the consequence of threatening a member of the Judiciary or interfering in the judicial process.
He expressed hope that the ongoing investigation would bring out the truth regarding the allegations.
Meanwhile, General Secretary of the All Ceylon Muslim Congress Y.L.S. Hameed has said that the protesters who were holding a peaceful demonstration against a ruling of the Judge were provoked by the behaviour of the Judge. He said the protesters had seen the Judge coming out of the Court and giving orders to the Police to attack the protesters. He said that the protesters, largely the Muslims from the fishing village of Uppukulam, gathered outside the Mannar Court premises to express their opposition to a ruling regarding the presence of Tamils from Vidutaltivu in their village. Mr. Hameed further said that the Tamils of Vidutaltivu were forcibly resettled in the Muslim village of Uppukulam by the LTTE after the rebels took over Vidutaltivu to set up a Sea Tiger base.
However, after the war ended, the Muslims demanded that the Tamils return to Vidutaltivu, but they refused, despite the intervention of the District Secretary, prompting the Police to take the case to Court. Judge Antonipillay Judesan ruled that the status quo should continue until a final solution was found.
Hameed said the ruling provoked Thursday’s demonstration because the Muslims felt it came at a time when a final solution in favour of them was about to be worked out by the Government authorities. (niz).