Va­can­cies not likely to be filled

Mus­lim min­is­ters, state min­is­ters re­sign

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - FRONT PAGE - BY SANDUN A JAYASEKERA

Prime Min­is­ter Ranil Wickremesi­nghe has de­cided not to fill the va­can­cies aris­ing in the Cab­i­net from the res­ig­na­tion of three Mus­lim min­is­ters, a gov­ern­ment source said yes­ter­day.

City Plan­ning, Wa­ter Sup­ply and Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Rauff Ha­keem, Highways, Road De­vel­op­ment and Pe­tro­leum Re­sources De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Kabir Hashim and In­dus­try, Com­merce, Re­set­tle­ment, Pro­tracted Dis­placed Per­sons, Co­op­er­a­tive De­vel­op­ment, Vo­ca­tional Train­ing and Re­set­tle­ment Min­is­ter Rishad Bathi­udeen and Postal and Mus­lim Re­li­gious Af­fairs Min­is­ter Ab­dul Haleem sub­mit­ted their res­ig­na­tions on Mon­day.

The res­ig­na­tions came in the wake of a protest cam­paign and a ‘fast unto death’ by MP Athu­raliye Rathana Thera, de­mand­ing the res­ig­na­tion of Min­is­ter Bathi­udeen and Western and Eastern Prov­ince Gov­er­nors Azath Sal­ley and M.L.A.M. Hizbul­lah over al­le­ga­tions that they sup­ported the Na­tional Thowheed Jama’at (NTJ).

“Cur­rently there are no Mus­lim min­is­ters, deputy min­is­ter or state min­is­ters after they re­signed in sol­i­dar­ity with Min­is­ter Bathi­udeen. They will re­main as back-benchers while sup­port­ing the gov­ern­ment,” the source said.

The oth­ers who re­signed are State Min­is­ter of Health and In­dige­nous Medicine, Mo­hamed Faizal, State Min­is­ter of Provin­cial Coun­cils and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, Mo­hamed Ha­reez, State Min­is­ter of So­cial Em­pow­er­ment Ali Za­hir Moulana and Agri­cul­ture and State Min­is­ter of Ir­ri­ga­tion and Ru­ral Eco­nomic Af­fairs Amir Ali Zeyed Mo­hamed.

“The Prime Min­is­ter is ex­pected to take pol­icy de­ci­sions of the va­cated min­istries while the day to day af­fairs will be over­seen by the re­spec­tive min­istry sec­re­taries in consultati­on with the Prime Min­is­ter’s of­fice,” he said.

The source said any mem­ber of Par­lia­ment, so­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions, NGOS, Bikkhus or any other per­son can lodge com­plaints to the Par­lia­men­tary Se­lect Com­mit­tee, TID, CID, FCID or Bribery Com­mis­sion against Mr. Bathi­udeen and if they fail to prove their al­le­ga­tions within a month Mr. Bathi­udeen will be reap­pointed to his port­fo­lio.

The three min­is­ters who re­signed told me­dia that they had re­signed from their posts so as to pro­vide space for on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the Easter Sunday at­tacks.

They said cer­tain groups were still at­tempt­ing to desta­bi­lize the coun­try even after the cap­ture of mem­bers of the ex­trem­ist Mus­lim group and would do their best to safe­guard the coun­try.

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