“I am ashamed”: Rauff
Visibly moved by the scenes in Aluthgama yesterday, Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem stood on the steps of the Welipitiya Mosque and vowed that tough decisions would have to be made.
“I am ashamed. I am ashamed that I could not protect my people,” the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader said, in a broken voice, his eyes filling with tears.
Hakeem said that for 72 hours, Muslim Ministers and representatives had begged the Government authorities to prevent the Bodu Bala Sena Rally from going ahead.
“The law and order machinery completely failed in Aluthgama yesterday,” the Justice Minister said.
He said three people had lost their lives in Welipitiya and 78 had been injured in the rioting in the area overnight.
“Under these circumstances, I am seriously considering my position. I will have to discuss it with my Parliamentary group and arrive at a decision,” the Minister said, strongly hinting at resignation.
However, following an emergency meeting of the SLMC and a subsequent press briefing, Minister Hakeem made no announcement of withdrawing support for the Government.