Govt. decides to return old Molawatte mosque to Muslims

Monday, 12 August 2013 01:26 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reaching a compromise on the controversial Grandpass mosque issue last evening, the Government yesterday decided to return the old Molawatte mosque to Muslim devotees in the area and remove a Bo tree to allow the premises room to expand, officials said. Addressing reporters following the meeting, Minister Champika Ranawaka said the Muslims will be permitted to resume religious activities at the old mosque. “A just solution has been found. The Bo tree will be removed from the mosque premises,” he said. The Minister said that the UDA had previously ordered that the mosque be relocated. “But President Mahinda Rajapaksa has intervened to revoke that order,” he said, adding that the issue had been resolved amicably. A high level meeting that lasted over three hours, frequently became heated as disagreements over the relocation ensued, Daily FT learns. The UDA decided to cancel the development plan for the old mosque premises during the meeting. Accordingly the new three-storey mosque will be shut and religious activities will resume in the old premises. The meeting was attended by Muslim Ministers A.H.M. Fowzie, Rishad Bathiudeen and Deputy Minister Faiszer Mustapha, while Justice Minister and SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem also dropped in to the meeting as it was in progress, a SLMC Spokesman said. The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, trustees of the mosque, members of the Buddhist clergy and residents from Grandpass also attended the meeting. JHU Members Minister Ranawaka and Udaya Gammanpila The Inspector General of Police N.K. Illangakoon and Senior DIG Western Province Anura Senanayake also attended. The meeting was chaired by Minister Dinesh Gunewardane.