Responding to the video released on Friday (18) depicting Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader and Minister Rauff Hakeem speaking to the Easter Sunday attacks ringleader Zahran Hashim, the former said it was an attempt to ‘sling mud at him to get cheap electoral advantage from the innocent Sinhala Buddhist rural voters’.
The controversial video, allegedly taken in Kattankudy following the 2015 General Elections, was released to the media by the Organisation for the Protection of Muslim Rights. It shows Minister Hakeem in discussion with Hashim surrounded by others. Representatives of the Organization lodged a complaint at Police Headquarters seeking the immediate arrest of Minister Hakeem. They later staged a peaceful protest opposite Police Headquarters demanding same.
Shedding light on the video Minister Hakeem said it was recorded during his visit to Kattankudy where they met with people who were attacked by the supporters of former Governor M.L.A.M. Hizbullah.
“What you hear on the media is a totally twisted story,” Hakeem said. “Hizbullah after losing in the General Elections managed to get into the United People’s Freedom Alliance’s national list. He then attacked the people in Kattankudy who voted for the SLMC.”
Hakeem explained he was in Kattankudy visiting victims of the attack and held the meeting with villagers- where the video was recorded.
“At this time Zaharan had been hanging around. Nobody knew he was a terrorist then. How could we (politicians) have known he was a terrorist when even the intelligence didn’t know?” he asked.
He stressed, the video, released closer to the Presidential Election, is a clear move to ‘sling mud’ at him and ‘tarnish’ his character.
Attempts made by the Sunday Observer to contact former Governor Hizbullah failed.