Industries Development Minister Rizad Badurdeen said the decision taken by the President relating to the Wilpattu Sanctuary will not hamper the resettlement process of Muslim and Sinhala families, affected by the war.
The Minister refuted the allegations that he had cleaned 17,000 acres of forest to settle Muslim people. War affected Muslim and Sinhala families in the Mannar District are living in their own land. He said he has not violated any rule of the country relating to lands. According to him, the Mannar District Secretary is a Sinhala Buddhist and therefore no one can believe that he allows Muslim people to settle in the district by force.
When the Minister was quested on the issue of the Wilpattu sanctuary, he said the President has understood that the sanctuary had not been destroyed.
He further said most people tend to identify the entire land as the Wilpattu sanctuary. But is is not true and Muslim and Sinhala families are living on the land.
He questioned where were the families chased away by the LTTE during the war period and said they should be settled on their original places. According to him the allegations levelled on him that he is ruing the forest for Muslim settlements are baseless and those allegations are levelled for various political and ethnic gains among others.
He said certain media spreading false propaganda he would quit the government and resign from his ministerial post on the decision taken by the President relating to the Wilpattu sanctuary. He said he has no intention to quit the government, which formed after much effort.