June 03, Colombo: All Muslim ministers including cabinet, state and deputy ministers in the Sri Lankan government have decided to resign from their ministerial portfolios citing the government's failure to ensure the safety of Muslims following Easter Sunday attacks.
Minister of Highways & Road Development and Petroleum Resources Development Kabir Hashim announced the decision after a news conference at Temple Trees this afternoon.
Accordingly, Cabinet Ministers Rishad Bathiudeen, Rauff Hakeem, Kabir Hashim, AHM Haleem and five deputy ministers including Deputy Ministers Ali Shahir Moulana and AHM Fowzie have decided to resign from their posts.
Minister Kabir Hashim stated that the ministers decided to resign from their posts so as not to impede the ongoing investigations into the Easter Sunday attacks. He also urged the authorities to investigate the allegations against his team.
After resigning from the portfolios, the ministers have decided to stay in the government as backbenchers in the parliament. Minister Kabir Hashim said they are committed to further strengthening the government as parliamentary backbenchers.
Speaking to the Media, Minister Hashim said certain groups are still attempting to destabilize the country even after the capture of all members of the extremist Muslim group and eliminate the threat and therefore, they, as a community, decided to fulfill their responsibility to safeguard the country.
He further said the mainstream Muslim community considering the country first has given as much as support to eradicate the extreme Muslim terrorism.
Minister Rauf Hakeem announcing his resignation said they decided to resign to safeguard the international reputation of the country and well-being of the people.
"Resigned from my cabinet ministerial portfolio along with my Muslim fellow parliamentarians with the paramount interest in safeguarding the international reputation of our motherland Sri Lanka and the protection and wellbeing of all people of our country," Hakeem said
Minister Hakeem speaking at the media briefing urged the government to act decisively in restoring and enforcing law and order, to protect the innocent civilians from hate crimes and arson and take step to end the culture of impunity for which this government was elected.
"We want to reestablish the reconciliation and peace in the country and a proper investigation into the allegations made against the Muslims should be conducted. We hope at least within a month, allegations, if any can be directed to the CID and take a decision," Hakeem said.
Parliamentarian venerable Athuraliye Rathana Thera began a fast-unto-death on 31st May demanding the resignation of Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, Western Province Governor Azath Salley and Eastern Province Governor MLAM Hizbullah alleging that they have links with the Muslim extremist organization National Thowheed Jamath, whose members carried out the Easter Sunday multiple suicide bombings in Christian churches and hotels.
Governors Hizbullah and Salley tended their resignations to the President Maithripala Sirisena today as the lawmaker monk's fast entered a fourth day and protests in support of Rathana Thera spread across the island.
Following the resignation of the governors, the Ministers also announced their resignation from the government posts.