All Muslim Ministers in Sri Lanka Resign After Buddhist Monks Demand Their Sacking Over Links To Easter Terror Attack

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All Muslim ministers in Sri Lanka including cabinet, state and deputy ministers have resigned from their portfolios, Daily Mirror reported.

The announcement was made by the country’s Minister of Urban Development, Water Supply and Drainage Rauff Hakeem. Hakeem is also the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), a member of the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG),

The Muslim Ministers accused the government of failing in its duty to ensure the security of the minority Muslim community following the deadly Easter suicide bombings carried out by a local Islamic terror group.

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Nine ministers and two provincial governors who quit the government include cabinet ministers Kabir Hashim, Rauff Hakeem, M.H.A. Haleem and Rishad Bathiudeen, State Ministers Faizal Cassim, H. M. M. Harees, Ameer Ali Shihabdeen and Seyed Ali Zahir Moulana and Deputy Minister Abdullah Mahrooff .

Last Saturday (Jun 1), an influential and firebrand Buddhist cleric Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero commenced a fast-unto-death protest demanding that the government sack Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, Eastern Province Governor M.L.A.M. Hizbullah and Western Province Governor Azath Salley over allegations linking them with Easter Sunday’s terrorist attack.

Thousands of people led by Buddhist monks demonstrated in Kandy seeking the resignations of nine ministers and two provincial governors. The head of the Catholic Church in Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, also expressed solidarity with Thero.

"We support the monk's campaign because so far justice has not been served," Ranjith told AFP in Kandy.

Thero ended his three-day fast earlier today (Jun 3) after Western Province Governor Azath Salley and Eastern Province Governor MLAM Hizbullah submitted their resignations to President Maithripala Sirisena. Their resignations were accepted with immediate effect.

Hakeem said that the ministers decided to resign from the government to facilitate investigations to be conducted in a free and fair manner.The decision to resign followed a lengthy discussion with the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Hakeem added that the investigations should be expedited and completed within one month so that they could be vindicated from the allegations.

“Investigations should be conducted by the CID against the allegations against Muslim politicians. We do not believe that we could expect reasonable solution to this issue from a Parliament Select Committee in this regard. Only the CID can do that,” he said.

He said that they were ready to face any punishment, if any of them were found guilty and added that innocent people should not be punished.

Hakeem added that the Muslim community was paying a heavy price for the crimes commited by few individuals from their community. He pointed that the community has agreed to the various rules and regulations including closure of madrasas proposed by the security forces and the government.

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