- Crisis in SLMC: Hakeem to cut short Norway mission
by Rodney Martinesz
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader Minister Rauff Hakeem currently in
Norway with the Sri Lanka peace delegation will cut short his mission and
return home to confront a major crisis in the SLMC.
This follows information reaching him in Oslo that an illegal High Command
meeting of the SLMC summoned by two party dissidents was being planned for
last night in his absence.
According to SLMC sources Deputy Minster of Highways A.L.M. Athaullah and MP
Dr. A.L.M. Hafrath had been suspended from the Party with immediate effect
under the extraordinary powers vested in the leader by the Party
Constitution. The letters of suspension signed by Minister Hakeem had been
faxed from Oslo to reach the two rebels.
The Minister had also apprised Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of the
impending crisis and urged that all matters pertaining to Muslims on the
agenda of the Oslo talks be temporarily deferred. "He will leave Oslo in the
first available flight" these sources said.
Athaullah is the Chairman of the SLMC while Dr. Hafrath is the General
Secretary. The duo led a recent rebellion against the party refusing to
attend Parliament sittings until an assurance was received from the Prime
Minister that Muslims' interests would not be compromised at the peace
In terms of the letters sent out to the rebels they will be suspended from
membership of the party and all positions held by virtue of that membership
in the party. According to party sources the Minister had also informed the
Commissioner of Elections on the suspension order served on the two MPs.
Meanwhile National Organiser of the SLMC K. Faisz in a statement issued last
night said that any meeting summoned without the leader of the party was
illegal. The attempt to hold such a meeting in the Minister's absence showed
the cowered nature of the people who were aspiring to be leaders.