Kalmunai Muslims protest against SL Minister Athaulla
[TamilNet, Friday, 29 July 2005, 12:30 GMT]
More than one thousand Muslims from three different mosques in Kalmunai town marched Friday in protest against the Minister of Infrastructure Development in the Eastern Province, Mr. A.L.M Athaulla, a leader of one of the breakaway factions of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), accusing the lankan minister of "betraying Muslims in Kalmunai" and favouring his native town of Akkaraipattu in securing governmental facilities. Demonstrators also carried placards supporing Tamil - Muslim relations in Kalmunai.
The protestors alleged that Mr. Athulla was taking steps to relocate the deputy health director's office for Amparai district from Kalmunai to Akkaraipattu.
Muslim devotees who participated in Jummah prayers in Kalmunai Jummah Mosque,
Ansar Sunnathu Mohammadullah Mosque and Mohideen Jummah Mosque, marched towards Kalmunai (Muslim) Divisional Secretariat at 1:30 p.m and held a demonstration till 3:00 p.m, sources in Kalmunai said.
The protest was organised by the All Mosque Federation in Kalmunai and the Federation of Muslim Organisations and Clubs in Kalmunai.
At the end of the demonstration, organisors handed over a petition addressed to the Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga to District Secretary (DS) Mr. A.H.M. Ansar at the Divisional Secretariat.
The petition urged SL President to ensure that the development of Kalmunai Muslim division is not blocked by secretarian politics and not to allow politicians to show favoritism to their own hometowns.
Mr. Athaulla was appointed as the Minister of Infrastructure Development in the Eastern Province, when he joined UPFA government coalition breaking away from the SLMC. Athaulla was Minister of Highways in the previous United National Party (UNP) led United National Front (UNF) coalition government.