28 September, 2021

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In Defence Of Muslim Crossovers

By Hilmy Ahamed

Hilmy Ahamed

Hilmy Ahamed

The unthinkable has happened. Rishard Bathiudeen, the youthful minister of Industries has given up all his perks and privileges and crossed over to support Maithripala Sirisena, the common opposition’s candidate to challenge President Mahinda Rajapaksa with one other parliamentarian and 69 other elected members of Provincial Councils, Pradeshiya Sabbha’s etc. Azwer who was forced to resign from parliament to fulfill the long overdue promise of a national list slot for Rishard’s deputy, Ameer Ali is a disappointed man. Rishard has been one of the incumbent governments most ardent and loyal supporters and continued to defend the government despite the onslaught on his community by extremist Buddhists that was allowed to continue with impunity. No action has been instituted against any of the perpetrators of over 350 incidents of violence and intimidation against Muslim during the last three years.

The relationship and trust between Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Rishard Bathiudeen has been envied by many including members of the incumbent government. This is probably the root cause that led Rishard Bathiudeen to take his unpleasant decision despite his unwavering support to the government and Basil Rajapaksa. The brawl at temple trees a few days back is listed as a result of treacherous scheming of certain powerful members of the current hierarchy to undermine the support and loyalty shown by Rishard Bathiudeen towards minister Basil Rajapaksa. A major onslaught on Rishard’s character has been undertaken with tacit support of certain influential persons at a private media institution. This media institution, despite their hosannas about other crossovers continue to bash Rishard, making the media outlet look more like one of the state media institutions. Whatever the reasons are, the government camp lost one of their most loyal champions.

BBSRishard’s list of woes could be pretty long. The unleashing of the Bodu Bala Sena on him and his community is seen as the first step in undermining him. The unfounded charges of encroachment in to the Wilpattu National Park by Rishard’s Muslim IDP’s were the beginning of the conflict between Rishard and the government. It is also claimed by Muslims of Mannar that hundreds of acres belonging to them have been appropriated by the armed forces. Large extent of lands belonging to the Muslims was also distributed by the LTTE to Tamils from the Mannar district, which has still not been returned to the Muslims.

Basil Rajapaksa who was in-charge of the presidential task force had the total responsibility for the development work undertaken at the end of the war. Rishard has made valuable contribution towards Basil’s efforts as minister in-charge of resettlement and rehabilitation in that has consolidated Basil’s position amongst the minority communities.

Rishard understood the need for support for IDPs as he himself was displaced in 1990 when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) forcibly evicted the Muslims from the Northern province with less than 24 hours notice. The Muslims were not allowed to take with them anything of value, not even the deeds to their properties. Rishard has fought for the last 24 years on behalf of his “forgotten people” who have still not been provided the opportunity of returning to their former homes as they are termed “old refugees”.

The worst straw for Rishard was the besieging of his ministry by the Bodu Bala Sena and the threats made against him, which the government chose to ignore. No arrests were made, nor any action taken despite this thuggery by men in robes that was undertaken in front of the media in broad daylight.

The clear indications from the government that they would not need the support of the Sri Lanka Muslim congress confirm that negotiations with Hakeem and SLMC have failed. Whatever decision the SLMC makes will not make a huge difference in the way the Muslims would vote in this election. The SLMC in all probability would move to support the common candidate with in the next hours.

The last few Muslims to hold on and battle for Rajapaksa are seen by the community as insensitive to the suffering of the Muslim community. Faizer Mustapaha, who fought valiantly to save the Grandpass mosque is a disappointed man as the mosque remains closed and the promised land for a new mosque has not been honoured. Further, he was an eyewitness to the pogrom in Aluthgama and Beruwela. He too was held hostage at the Naleemiya Institute on the 15th of June by the mobs that came to burn down the institute and his vehicles were damaged. No inquiry or action has been taken to bring the perpetrators of the violence in Aluthgama to justice. With all this, It remains to be seen as to when Faizer Musthapha will announce his defection.

With the end of the war in 2009, a large percentage of the Muslim community pledged their support to His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa even though the Muslims have traditionally favoured the United National Party. Muslim civil society and religious leadership too engaged in a constructive dialogue with the president and defence secretary. Despite all this, the Bodu Bala Sena was allowed to target Muslims with its hate campaign. It is unfortunate that elements outside the government has been able to drive a large portion of the Muslim population away from supporting this government during the last three years. Thus, the defection from the current government is mainly due to its failure to provide security and justice to the Muslim community.

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Latest comments

  • 12
    0

    A very interesting perspective to the Bathiudeen/Muslim story. It is time that these Muslim ministers, put their personal ambitions and greed aside, and made a strong statement that they do not agree with the racist policies and movements of this regime. They should represent their people, and do what is best for the country, not the ruling regime. The Rajapaksa’s have got away with most crimes, and shame on the media, for going along. Who will stand up for the minorities in the country? They are as Sri Lankan as the majority, and should be assured of safety, security, and not be the target of racism.
    If Hakeem, Bathiudeen, and others, do not make a stand, no one else will.

  • 4
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    Nice and well written article. Why there is no news about Fauzie and Alavi Moulana. Are they also on the fence of waiting for the Tsunami to fall into the water

    • 3
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      Alavi is a long time buddy of Mahinda and didn’t
      represent Muslims in politics.And was close to
      Sirimavo as well.MARA intentionally ignored all
      Muslim ministers and MPs of his govt in support
      of the racist elements he nurtured.Shanty mentality
      of this govt is manifestly clear to allow its
      newspaper to call one of its ministers a”pig.” The
      rest in the cabinet whether Muslims or Buddhists
      must ask themselves who they are tomorrow once they
      make their choice.I would only say one thing to
      this third rate corrupt editor that it’s the pig
      that is served to him as “bacon.”

  • 9
    0

    Surely it is justified, I don’t know what Faisar Mustapha and Rauf Hakeem are doing all this could be parts in a master game plan we will have to wait and see. There is still time but whoever will remain with MR Gov will be traitors to Muslim community.

    But it would not matter in respect to voting it is very clear who the Muslims are voting.

  • 10
    0

    A chime that still lingers in the ears of the Muslims… ” Mey wage sulu dewal walata Maha loku Harthal oney nehe”.. translation… for minor incidents like these….. (The Aluthgama Scenario… where billions worth of Muslims assets and property was set on fire and lives lost too) these is NO need for hartals…. a notorious quote by MR…

    IF MR expects the Muslims to be voting for him at the elections, he is in deep slumber…. and probably would wake up on the 9th of Jan..2015…

    Oh 2015….. is also the year that the BBS was planning to celebrate the massacre of Muslims in 1915…

  • 13
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    Muslims and Tamils and of course, Singhelse will teach a lesson to barberic regime of MaRa.
    It’s time to hide pigs like Gananasara, GoRa, Hudson, Karuna, Pillayan, Douglas,Rajpal, etc……

  • 12
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    It is imperative that Muslims will cross over and it is the fault of Gotabaya that they do this. If he had reined in the BBS and ensured the security of the Muslims, no one would cross. The Muslims have had enough and the Buddhist too sympathise with the minorities even though a few racist think otherwise. Mahinda had everything going right for him and there was no need for him or his brothers to cerate this hate among the minorities. Were they also scheming to steal the wealth of the Muslims as they have done to the Tamils????

  • 8
    0

    Well articulated Hilmy Ahmed. We Muslims have never had problems living with the good and friendy Sinhalese Buddhist people and can share in their joys and grieve with them in their times of sorrow. It is the racist elements in them, the likes of BBS, RB, SU and JHU that we detest. It is the actions of this government giving tacit support to such goons that has brought them into disfavor amongst the entire Muslim and other minority population. The common opposition is quite aware the harm that racism will bring to this nation, and has played its cards well thus far. Writer TG in another article titled ‘Racism: The Final Rajapakse refuge’ in this same forum, has forewarned of the racist agenda that MR will let loose on the minorities when he feels he has nothing to lose, and this could be his last straw to get the Sinhalese Buddhist votes onto one side, his side against the rest. We all need to stay united to beat them at their own game, and send a strong message that we will not fall to their ploys. The sooner we shun the devil, the greater the hope for a better future and long lasting peace for all citizens of all communities living in our country.

  • 2
    0

    The courageous have joined the common candidate or yiu can also say joined the winning side. There are other Muslim Leaders, who waver for whatevef reasons. One of them a dy minister says he will leave UPFA if he finds that BBS is suppodting government as if he is a montesorri going child. The other acts even in the stage whilst addressing the public and he is unable to make a decision (for what reason) the readers know how these people function, live and amas wealth.
    The muslim public must react to the current situation and use their according to their choice wisely.

  • 2
    0

    The stupid Fowsie has told a fellow minister that he is staying because even if MR looses, he would not give up power. I would be the first volunteer to die to regain Sri Lanka. He is such a fool that he doesnt know what peoples power can do. Let us all resolve to protect our democratic rights and freedom

  • 5
    0

    I think that downfall of MR is a self- inflicted one.No family dynasty will stay longer in politics in Sri Lanka. look at How JR.CKB and other ruled. They never let family members domain in politics. of cous some CKB family engaged in politics but SRIMA or CKB never wanted the entire family in politics. Today. MR and his siblings made his downfall. It is not like politics rather so many cooks spoiled the soups.it was not MR made decisions Rather siblings and ladies behind. it was not MR who created BBS but Goata. it backfired on them. same like Probakaran he chased muislims and destroyed mosques. Divine curse came on him. Same like that Goata brought curse to MR family.
    GOATA will run away to USA with money he made in politics. It is people who should decide to who they vote.

  • 2
    0

    Hilmy paints such a beautiful picture of Rishard Bathiudeen.

    BUT its only half the story, what about his attack on the courts and threats to a sitting judge in Mannar?

    Rishard Bathiudeen is not an innocent baby !

    • 1
      0

      dev,why are you dragging the past here. Rishard is now a born again muslim. Rishard woudn’t harm even a fly now.

      You think only among christans you can have born again people.

    • 1
      0

      May be so…He may be a devil and not an angel.. I like to quote an old saying..which we need to go by so that we can SAVE SL from sliding further down a slippery slope..

      “A known Devil is BETTER than an unknown Angel”

      So Rishard may not be an innocent baby BUT has the GUTS to THROW away his powerful Ministerial post with all perks and walk into the opposition at the RISK OF HIS LIFE TOO…. with NO monetary gains… NOW I call that Sacrifice… would Hakeem, Paisa Must Appa, POWsee, Alavi Moulana, ASSwer show their disapproval of what happened to the Muslim community within the last 3 years..? especially after the Aluthgama attacks, where Hakeem shed CROCODILE TEARS… lets wait and see…

      • 1
        1

        Could you not apply the SAME saying to Mahinda?

        A known devil (Mahinda) is better than an unknown angel (Maithree)??

        :-)

        • 0
          0

          The devil in Mahinda Rajapaksa is in monstrous propotions.

  • 0
    0

    They are making milky tea in his boutique with the help of his spoon?

  • 0
    0

    A well written piece indeed which shows Rishad in good light.

    But what of his leading the assault on the Mannar Courts? Did he not use the President to save himself in the court case that followed? In a sense he allowed his interests to over-ride those of the Muslim community by endorsing the same judicial interference that shields the BBS to this day.

    After using that help can he speak up against the BBS being protected?

    • 1
      0

      I can vouch for the fact that Rishard was not innocent with the Mannar crisis, and I do not condone the violence against the judiciary, but we also need to look deeper in to the crisis. My very close friend is one of the many legal counsel who appeared for Rishard in this case and the facts are not what is seen from outside.

      Fr. Rayappu Joseph has ensured that all Muslim lands which were abandoned during the eviction of Muslims from the north were distributed by the LTTE to his people. The said judge too is someone who was nurtured by Rayappu joseph and the court orders given by this judicial officer were on the orders of the bishop of mannar. The crisis started because the LTTE and Rayappu Joseph gave the fishing harbour to the Tamil fishermen which was the property of the Muslims. The various negotiations conducted by the GA gave the rights to the Muslims, but the magistrate gave contradictory orders at the instigation of the Bishop of Mananr. This Bishop was the main guardian of the LTTE, both locally and Internationally.

  • 2
    0

    These Muslim leaders who jump from one Political Unit to other are not true leaders of the people. They use the Muslim community to further their own selfish intentions: Ministries, financial benefits, business interests, gaining power, vehicles, foreign trips, governmemt posts for relations – friends – and those who financially support them. While inside the government they do not do any serious work to improve the living standards of their own community; their major objective is their selfish interests. This person is the one who interfered with the Judiciary some times back. Yet he escaped punishment by various maneuvers with the help of the state machinery. Similar event occurred when a gang of thugs with Sirisena’s son was charged of some criminal act against a son of a Superintendent of Police. All these times he was in the government and says he is a friend of Mr. Basil Rajapakse, yet according to his own declarations he has not done any serious work to settle the grievances of his own community. If his supports had lost their land there are enough methods legal or administrative to regain the lost lands or to obtain new land and housing for them. Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapakse with the help of soldiers are constructing houses and also it is possible to obtain land for any number of persons if the leaders are really interested in doing good work. This did not happen because the leaders were satisfied with what they got for themselves and for their kith and kin. Now their “tikiri moley” (Beautiful Brain) think Sirisena will win, and support him for the sole purpose of acqiring power to suppress others and to improve their business ventures. All this time they had ample opportunities to solve the problems of their communities but they were ignorant of these and lived a luxurious lives and when they are exposed they jump to the other side. I am quite sure that when Mr. Rajapakse wins all these paul waulters would humbly return to the Mahinda government and they would give most innevative reasons for the return to the Mahagedara.

  • 1
    0

    Muslims have always been on both sides of the parliamentary divide, and have reaped the benefits of every political situation for the muslim people. I don’t blame them.
    Now they have to make the tough decision – it is hoped that they will decide to be on the side of democracy and not dictatorship.

  • 0
    0

    Hilmy it seems like you are ready to hold Pandang for the beleaguered Muslims Ministers. Any accruing benefits???

    Rishad Badiuddin is an uneducated street thug….it is as simple as that.

    He saw an opportunity and he used it whilst Hakeem is trying to protect his ….. not the Muslims.

    Why on God’s name is Hakeem waiting for the Dambulla Mosque situation to be resolved when Aluthgama, Beruwela, Grandpass, No Limit, Fashion Bug and Hartcourt incidents have happened since????

    Are the Muslim voters so stupid that they can be fooled so easily like you Hilmy?

    • 0
      0

      Upul, I have no reason to hold a brief for Rishard, but I have written about community interests as a Muslim and that may sound biased, but if you know what we have faced since the LTTE evicted the Muslims from the north in 1990, you wouldn’t write like this. You call yourself upul, and if you are really a sinhalese, you wouldn’t know how one feels when prosecuted by a few thugs and you can respond because they are in robes.

  • 0
    0

    Good one Marikkar Bhai ! It’s very true that these pole vaulters will jump back if MR wins, but looks like MR winning is not going to happen, unless Goon GoRa takes over the nation militarily, if that’s even possible. Things are very unpredictable.

    In politics, all these guys are rascals, opportunists and liars. They are all using the people to make money and prosper themselves. No one, I say no one is really keen to serve the people or sacrifice their time or life. All these humbug talks from both sides are just BS ! Show us a decent and honest politician these days.

    The greatest mistake they all made was allowing the saffron robed thugs to indulge in politics. Allowing them to form political parties is the worst and costly error. Look at the country today! Unbelievable.

    Ban BBS,JHU,SU,RB and all these racist goons from interfering in politics. Now the common candidate has some of the very same corrupt, racist elements on their side along with unreliable racist Sarath Fonseka and the likes. The types of Rishard Badiudin, the last minute jumpers are no good either. May be they can help win Muslim votes but these guys are going to demand that and this later on and give head-ache to Maithri/Ranil group. There won’t be much of a difference in their governing except some reduction in open criminal activities and some improvement in the rule of law. The majority and minority problems and sufferings will just continue with no end in sight. Sri Lankan society cannot be changed overnight, they got brain washed thoroughly, mainly with venomous and cancerous racism.

  • 0
    0

    This essay by Hilmy,though well written is an attempt to camouflage the real Rishard.As a Cabinet Minister to pelt stones at the Mannar Magistrate speaks volumes about the mans character.

    As for his deputy Ameer Ali,Rugger fans are familiar about [Edited out] but dashed down,sidestepping the Fullback[MR] and touched down between the Posts.Rishard converted the Try.
    Poor Aswer for all his blind Loyalty has been left high and dry.

    The winner takes it all The loser standing small….ABBA]

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