- Says his former Governments served Muslim community better than any other administration
- Pledges to ensure equal treatment for all communities
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said he trusts that the Muslim community will vote for the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) at the parliamentary election to form a strong Government that can eradicate extremism in the country.
The SLPP Prime Ministerial candidate expressed these views at a public rally held in Kandy on Thursday. He acknowledged that the Muslims community had distanced themselves from the SLPP during previous elections but said that he believes this stance has since been reversed and they will vote for the SLPP at the forthcoming General Election.
“It was our government that commenced a number of initiatives for the wellbeing of the Muslim community. At one time there were 28 Muslim representatives including Cabinet Ministers in our administration, which shows that we were the only government that genuinely worked to protect the Muslim community’s rights,” he said. Rajapaksa noted that under his pre-2015 Government, all communities were treated equally and their rights were protected. According to Rajapaksa, his government had provided protection to the Muslim community against many threats.
“We have provided protection to the Muslims from the LTTE. We provided protection to the Muslim community after the Kattankudy mosque massacre, which killed more than 100 men and boys. We made sure that Muslims were safe to engage in their daily activities.” Addressing a rally in Nawalapitiya, Rajapaksa said the tussle between the President and the Prime Minister in the previous administration halted important development projects, which eventually affected the entire country. He noted the recent Prime Ministerial committee report about the Central Cultural Fund (CCF) had revealed financial misappropriation of the previous administration. Rajapaksa argued if such politicians returned to power, the public should not expect them to serve the public. Referring to the frictions between the United National Party (UNP) and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), the SLPP Prime Ministerial candidate noted that the UNP supporters were frustrated and that it should pave the way for the SLPP to form a strong government. “Due to the tussle between the UNP and the SJB, a considerable number of UNP supporters pledged to support the SLPP at this election,” he claimed.