Press Trust of india

Lanka Tamil leader says Muslims' rights being abused, demands international probe

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Colombo, Jun 10 :  A top Tamil leader in Sri Lanka has called for an international investigation into the alleged injustice meted out to the minority Muslim community in the country in the aftermath of the massive Easter Sunday bombings.

The fundamental rights of the Muslims are being abused using an act of terror, C V Wigneswaran, former chief minister of the Tamil-dominated Northern Province, told reporters on Sunday, referring to the difficulties faced by the minority community, which constitutes nine per cent of the population, following the deadly April 21 suicide bombings.

Following the attacks that claimed 258 lives, some Muslim politicians representing the government came under criticism for their alleged support extended to the rising militancy.

"Muslims are a part of the Sri Lankan community, they are being subjected to injustice in violation of the country's Constitution," Wigneswaran said in Jaffna, once the hotbed of the over three-decade long conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

A large number of Muslims have been arrested by the anti-terror agencies for questioning along with those having links to the banned National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ).

Wigneswaran expressed solidarity with the Muslim ministers who resigned last week claiming that the government had failed to ensure the safety of the minority community in the country.

Nine Muslim ministers holding top positions in the Sri Lankan government resigned last week to allow authorities to investigate allegations against some of them on links to the NTJ.

There are 19 Muslims among the 225-member Parliament and nine of them held Cabinet, state and deputy ministerial positions.

"Charges against the Muslim politicians have not been proved. The government must take responsibility for their resignations," Wigneswaran said.

Following the attacks on three Catholic churches and three luxury hotels by the NTJ with possible links to the Islamic State terror group, there were widespread attacks on the Muslim community.

The majority Sinhala community mobs attacked Muslim-owned properties in towns north of Colombo, killing one Muslim man and leaving hundreds of homes, shops and mosques vandalised.

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