The Sunday Leader

SLMC Denies Muslim Eelam Allegation

  • Request for separate admin district for Ampara

By Waruni Karunarathne

With the resolution passed by the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) asking for a separate administrative district for the Muslims in Ampara, many directed accusations at the SLMC stating that it is an attempt to create a Muslim Eelam. Denying such allegations, the SLMC insists that they do not look for a separate state for Muslims but their proposal was only to create a separate administrative district for the Muslims in Ampara as Muslim majority in the area is facing difficulties having to deal with Sinhala administration in the Ampara district.

The general Secretary of the SLMC, Hasan Ali reiterated that the Muslims are not asking for a separate state as portrayed by some politicians and local media. “In 1961 they curved out the southern part of Batticaloa and extracted some area from Moneragala and made it a separate district called Ampara.

They made the administrative capital in Ampara,” he added. According to him, the administrative capital is set in an area where the Sinhala minority lives, whereas the majority of the Ampara district is Tamil speaking Muslims who live mostly close to the coastal area in Kalmunai. He explained that earlier the administrative capital was in Kalmunai as 90 % of people in the Ampara district live in coastal areas.

However, later the administrative capital was moved to Ampara where the Sinhala minority lives, which was about 25 km away from the coastal area – and therefore it limits access of the Muslims to the administrative capital. “The entire administration is run by the Sinhalese where as 75% of people in the district are Muslims and only about 24% are Sinhalese. Since 1961 they never appointed a Tamil speaking Government Agent for the Ampara district – the GA was always a Sinhalese,” Hasan Ali complained.

He pointed out that the Puttalam, Kalmunai and Samanthurai electorates, where Muslim majority lives, should be a separate Muslim administrative district. He added that all the governments that came to power in Sri Lanka have not been able to give recognition to the Muslims in the country. He also added that the SLMC has fought with Tamils politically against the separatism in the country and therefore insisted that the SLMC does not mean or encourage any division among the ethnic groups.

Leader of the Tamil-Muslim Alliance Asad Sally added that this is not a new demand of the Muslims but the Muslims in the area had been asking for a separate administration for a long time. “During the time of Mrs. Chandrika Bandaranayake Kumarathunga, Ashraff negotiated and got a DRO’s office to Kalmunai but now the government has taken it back to Ampara,” he said.  According to him, the present government and even the UNP government had promised to make necessary administrative arrangement which they have failed to do.

Speaking to The Sunday Leader President of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL), N. M. Ameen added that the proposal is not particularly for the Muslims but for the Tamil speaking people in the area. He condemned people being critical of this request as according to him they are only asking for an administrative arrangement for the Tamil speaking people in the area.

“In the Ampara GA’s office (Kachcheri) entire administration is run in Sinhala and Tamil speaking majority in the area face communication barriers,” he said reiterating the view of the SLMC. Ameen pointed out that there are Sinhala ADA divisions in Vavuniya for Sinhala speaking minority in those areas and added that the Muslims would also welcome such arrangements for the Muslims in Ampara district for their administrative assistance. “According to SLMC, UNP had agreed in an MOU and even the present UPFA government has agreed to make necessary administrative arrangement for Muslims in Ampara,” he added. According to him, their requests are not new and they had only brought it up to the attention of the president ahead of the presidential election in order to get a positive response to their long standing demands.

He added that some people are trying to carry propaganda against this proposal by directing it towards a nationalistic periphery which is not right. According to him, some have accused Muslims saying that they are being backed by the TNA to make this move. On the contrary, he added that a Pradeshiya Sabha (local government) headed by the Tamil political party, has passed a resolution against this proposal. “What they do not understand is that this proposal is in the interest of all the Tamil speaking people to give them better access to administrative facilities – and the Muslims intend no division or any harm,” he insisted.

4 Comments for “SLMC Denies Muslim Eelam Allegation”

  1. No Politics

    If the problem is essentially one pertaining to ‘communication’, would it not be more practical to agitate for more Tamil-speaking officials to be appointed to the GA’s Office rather than demand for a separate administrative district for Muslims ?

  2. Sylvia Haik

    This will be the thin edge of the wedge. District Administrations on racial lines will quickly evolve into areas divided on racial lines and is a sure recipe for disaster. I know they already exist, but it should be our resolve to assimilate communities, not divide them. Ideally, all public offices, everywhere, should have the administration conducted in Sinhalese, Tamil and in English for those who speak neither language, disregarding the racial mix of the inhabitants in the area. This then will be a good incentive to move and mix with other Sri Lankans of other races and religions.

  3. Rana

    True that SLMC not asking for a separate state, but this is the initiative to going for that target. Muslims always took minor initiative from the beginning and this is yet another minor step. That’s how they craftily approved Sharia banking system in parliament. Halal system is another step. According to 2011 Census the population in Ampara District are 648,057 and out of it 38.7% Sinhalese, 43.6% Muslims and 17.4% Tamils. This figures might not change drastically from 2011-2014 unless otherwise their mosques sponsored “baby boom” progress rapidly in Eastern Province .
    Their complain about 25 miles to Ampara DRO ofiice or majority officials there are Sinhalese, do not prove anything. The Muslims or Tamils do not want to go to Ampara for administrative things. They have their own Muslim or Tamil Divisional Secretaries and officials for any Admin. matters. They need separate Muslim district just to grab more government lands including protected jungles, Arch. sites [most probably Deegawapi sacred area] and issue “Land Permits” to even their kids. The fine example is Pothuvil area. In Pothuvil Muslim population about 27213 and the Sinhalese about 800. If a Sinhala person request a “Land Permit” it never approve. But when a Muslim request a land permit , within short period it’ll granted and even might tell to the person “Hey if you know any other person who need land,send him to us”.

    Minister Hakeem, Hasan Ali and Asaad Sally are the deadliest combination for Srilanka and for the moderate Muslims. They taking Srilanka towards yet another deadliest, separatist war.

  4. Jay

    Theses SLMC buggers held on to their minister post for all theses years and did nothing but personal gains for themselves , now elections are around the corner , so they can go to the “people” with something to fool them again

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