Aug 05, Colombo: Sri Lanka’s Minister of Industry and Commerce and leader of ACMC Rishad Bathiudeen dropped a political bombshell on Wednesday saying that as the General Election draws closer, a well-planned conspiracy is in the making to eliminate him-both physically and politically.
Addressing a special media briefing on Wednesday, the Minister said while filing a writ against him in the courts regarding the Wilpattu issue appears to be racially motivated, it would give him a good opportunity to place the correct facts on record.
“Today I want to reveal to you of a major conspiracy against me. As the election-day approaches, the racist group is active again to defeat me. Together, they are conspiring to kill me, or failing that, to destroy me politically. According to this brewing conspiracy, a press conference is to be held tomorrow at Galadari Hotel to make certain announcements to destroy me in the coming two weeks” Minister Bathiudeen revealed.
Minister Bathiudeen was addressing a special press briefing held at EDB on 05 August joined by some advising attorneys.
“I and my community have been falsely accused of Wilpattu destruction on a continued basis through certain national media. Some media channels such as TNL and Hiru have thankfully given us an opportunity to voice our side of the story but not others,” said the Minister addressing the packed presser.
He explained that the displaced Muslims were from the five villages of Marichchikatti, Karaddikuli, Palakkuli, Kondachchi and Mullikulam, who were forcefully evicted by the LTTE.
The Minister said he has their voter list of that time as well as deeds issued in 1906, with him.
“When they returned after the war, their original habitats were a jungle. When we try to resettle these IDPs we are falsely accused of destruction of the Wilpattu forests. First they claimed IDPs were re-settled in Wilpattu reserve which was false and when it was proved so, they alleged that I am resettling people in Kallaru reserve, a fabrication,” he explained.
“I have also been informed that a case has been filed against me to appear in Appeal Courts on 16 September to answer to the writ on alleged illegal deforestation and re-settlement inside Wilpattu. Despite end of conflict after three decades, some racial elements are still trying to create ethnic disharmony and anti-Muslim feelings,” he said.
He added that the case filed against him is due to environmentalists being misled due to racial motives.
“This is a politically motivated campaign and deprives Muslim IDPs right to return. But it is actually a good opportunity welcomed by me and my community to prove to the courts with deeds of 1906 and voter lists of that time and place this on record. No lands other than that were of forest growth where they originally lived, were cleared,” he stressed. “I want to reveal that a major conspiracy against me is in the making by an anti-Muslim racial group about whom you too are aware about. A Muslim person is to be used against me in this. The same group behind the No Limit attack and Dambulla Mosque issue. As the election-day approaches, the racist group is active again to defeat me joined by political elements that were defeated in the last election. Together, they are conspiring to kill me, or failing that, to destroy me politically,” he said.
“The latest rounds of accusations are part of this conspiracy to destroy me. One of such persons had filed against me in the Bribery Commission. He met many other politicians and talked against me. Thereafter through some people known to me, he has been sending messages to me saying that if I pay him ransom, he will withdraw the Bribery complaint. He also called and informed me that there is a major conspiracy is in the making against me and he can stop that via �some people personally known to him� by paying Rs 40 million money. According to this brewing conspiracy a press conference is to be held tomorrow at Galadari Hotel to make certain announcements to destroy me in the coming two weeks. Tomorrow�s press conference could be stopped if I pay Rs 20 Million from the 40 Million total, he told me. I have recorded all these conversations in CDs and submitted to the CID when I lodged the complaint about this with CID DIG. There are many people behind this conspiracy and when the inquiry starts you will see who they are. I also lodged a complaint with the Elections Commissioner and as a Party Leader I should stress that this is a well-planned conspiracy. I met the senior DIG Ravi Seneviratne and lodged my complaint. In this election, it is clear that the people of Sri Lanka are getting together to elect Ranil Wickremesinghe to as the next PM and in this background, conspiracies are afoot to destroy me and my plans to resettle the Muslim IDPs. I also like to commend the Election Commissioner for the good law and order environment that he created.”
Led by Minister Bathiudeen, ACMC is fielding 10 candidates to 7 slots of Digamadulla District�s electorates of Ampara, Kalmunai, Sammanthurai and Pothuvil in Eastern Province. It is contesting alone in East while in Northern Province, aligned with the UNP.