Tiger terrorists destroyed 20,000 houses, 79 mosques and over 60 schools of Muslims in the Northern Province and a number of houses, temples and schools of the Sinhalese community. It is a pity that no one is highlighting these human rights violations by the terrorists, leaving unfounded allegations against the Sri Lankan Government to go unchallenged, Commerce and Industry Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said.
Addressing a media conference in Colombo on Tuesday (March 18), the Minister said Muslim and Sinhala communities who lived in the North for centuries were forcibly expelled from the Northern Province by Tiger terrorists and they had to live over 20 years under pathetic conditions in coconut estates in Puttalam, Anuradhapura and Kurunegala Districts. The Minister said he too was one of the refugees expelled from Mannar by the Tigers.
Minister Bathiudeen said people expelled from the Northern Province have been able to return to their original habitats only after establishing lasting peace in the country by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He pointed out that Muslim and Sinhala communities have lived amicably in peace and harmony for centuries and it is essential to strengthen the reconciliation efforts being carried out by the Government.
Speaking about espousing of communal hatred by extremist elements, the Minister said these activities only harm the country and it strengthens the anti-Sri Lankan elements operating from overseas. He requested extremist elements to cease activities and propaganda that lead to divisions among the communities.