LTTE may refuse to negotiate with Muslim leader Hakeem - Hindustan Times, India
- LTTE may refuse to negotiate with Muslim leader Hakeem
Colombo, August 30
The LTTE has said that the accredited Muslim
representative at the peace talks, the Sri Lanka
Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Rauff Hakeem, does not
qualify to be a representative of the Muslims of the
North and East, which is the problem area, and has
hinted that it will not talk to him.
The LTTE' s political wing leader, SP Tamilchelvam,
has been quoted in the Sudar Oli daily as saying in
Paris that the Muslims of the North-East desire to
have one of their own kind as their representative at
the peace talks. Hakeem, Tamilchelvam said, did not
fit the bill because he did not belong to the
North-East. He has been elected from the Central
province and is a resident of Colombo.
The LTTE leader then went on to blame Hakeem for the
on-going Muslim-Tamil violent conflict in the Eastern
districts. He said that having been rejected by the
Muslims of the North-East, Hakeem might be creating
these incidents only to re-establish his leadership.
The LTTE is exploiting the existing opposition from a
section of the Muslims to Hakeem and the SLMC being
the sole representative of the Muslims in the peace
talks and other discussions with the LTTE. Muslims
belonging to other political parties have asked why
they should be excluded. There is the National Unity
Alliance, led by Mrs Ferial Ashraff, whose husband MHM
Ashraff had founded the SLMC. A substantial section of
Muslims in the East owe allegiance to the United
National Party (UNP), which is the leader of the
However, if one looks at Tamilchelvam's Paris
statement from a broader angle, it does suggest that
the LTTE is moving towards accommodation of the
Muslims. "It is the duty of the LTTE to protect the
Muslims even as it is the duty of the Muslims to weed
out those among them who are turning to violence
(against the Tamils or the LTTE)," he said.
He further said that the LTTE would take up with the
Sri Lankan government the cause of the Muslims." But
before talking to the government, we will hold
discussions with the Muslim leaders. We are firm on
this matter," Tamilchelvam assured.
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