The Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen says he is prepared to resign from politics if the allegations raised against him with regards to the Wilpattu National park are proven to be true.
Bathiudeen has been accused of being involved in clearing land in the park to resettle Muslim communities.
“Assassinate me if you will but not my character. These statements made through the media and social media hurt me a lot due to the kind of character assassination of me” Minister Bathiudeen said at a media briefing today.
Bathiudeen expressed his disappointment at the conduct of the Venerable Ananda Sagara Thero who is among those who have raised the allegations and challenged the monk to a TV debate on the claims.
“On or around 19 December 2015 it was brought to my notice with video that a Protest March took place from Viharamaha Devi Park to Nelumpokuna and had been claimed to have organized by an organization called Green Liberals of Sri Lanka. With utter dismay, I was shocked to see the placards displayed with abusive words used against me and what was more shocking was that a few people had spoken out at the end the procession completely racially motivated against me and my community. It was evident from the expressions made it had nothing to with environmental protection but a part of the display of a politically motivated racial campaign,” he said.
Bathiudeen also said that it was evident that his community and he are being subjected to unfounded and untrue claims. (Colombo Gazette)