In a damning revelation, powerful Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has stated Muslim politician Azath Salley was arrested as he conspired to mobilize Sri Lankan Muslims for an armed struggle along with a Tamil group in Tamil Nadu. Speaking to our sister paper, Rajapaksa said intelligence agencies have uncovered evidence against Salley, who had been held in detention under a controversial detention order obtained by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
“Hakeem and other politicians are talking about the… …detention of Salley without knowing those incriminating details,” Rajapaksa alleged, when queried about the statement made by Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and Justice Minister, Rauff Hakeem, condemning Salley’s detention.
Rajapaksa said he would always be ‘awake to protect the people from external threats.’
“Many people are talking about the arrest of Azath Salley without knowing those facts. Muslim people thought that he was arrested for espousing Muslim extremism. Azath Salley went to Tamil Nadu and held talks with a Tamil group. A Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian and a Tamil professor attached to the Open University of Sri Lanka have also visited Tamil Nadu to hold discussions with the same Tamil group,” Rajapaksa charged.
He, however, stopped short of naming the ‘Tamil group.’ It is not clear whether the Indian intelligence services are aware of those discussions referred to by the Sri Lankan Defence Secretary.
Rajapaksa added Salley had held discussions to mobilize Tamil speaking Muslim people into the ranks of the TNA and to conduct an armed struggle.
“British Tamil Forum is an LTTE front. They are also involved with this Tamil group in Tamil Nadu. The British Tamil Forum mobilized expat Muslims in the United Kingdom to hold a protest in front of the Sri Lankan High Commission in London,” the Defence Secretary alleged.
He said he would not let ‘the discussions held in Tamil Nadu to progress into an armed struggle
By Premalal Wijeratne/ CT