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National Muslim Assembly launched with Prof. Kemal Deen as Chairperson

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The National Muslim Assembly of Sri Lanka was formally launched at its first annual general meeting held recently at Jetwing Colombo 07.

Inaugurated by a collective of Sri Lankan Muslims from private, business, academic and professional spheres, the organisation is the first of its kind to comprise the four key Muslim ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, namely the Sri Lankan Moors, Sri Lankan Malays, Sri Lankan Memons and the Sri Lankan Dawoodi Borahs.

The National Muslim Assembly (NMA), is a non-political, non-sectarian civil organisation formed with the purpose of providing eminent civil representation in all matters relevant to the community. In so doing, restoring the dignity of the Muslim community by actively demonstrating the community’s commitment towards national integration, national unity and national harmony in Sri Lanka.

Conceptualised by a cross section of Sri Lankan Muslims, referred to as the ‘Architects of the Assembly’, the NMA is intended to function as a catalyst towards working for the common good of not just Sri Lankan Muslims, but for all Sri Lankans alike with a commitment to representation and accountability through the very best talents and resources the Sri Lankan Muslim community has to offer.

The NMA is led by one of Sri Lanka’s most eminent medical luminaries, Prof. Kemal Deen, who serves as Chairperson. Joining him on the Board of the NMA are: Afzal Marikkar (Vice Chair), Khuzaimah Jafferjee (Vice Chair), Zaharine Hameen (Secretary) and Sabry Ghouse (Treasurer).

The NMA is further constituted by the following members: Mohamed Adamaly, Aman Ashraff, Zuraish Hashim, Suhail Jamaldeen, Aisha Sattar and A.G.M. Yaseen.

“It’s time for us to come together as a nation” , Prof. Kemal Deen said, “and the NMA is an unprecedented first step because it is the first civil body to be formally composed of Sri Lankan Muslims from all four ethnic groups. We are united by one common fact, which is that we are all Sri Lankans. And that acknowledgment in itself, is of paramount significance.”

In response to the immediate plans of the NMA, Kemal Deen said: “We have a series of initiatives planned, ranging from education to social upliftment, community awareness initiatives, poverty alleviation and more. We hope to get them underway no sooner COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed; but the end goal is much bigger than that. It is to foster a united nation, through mutual understanding and respect that is achieved by bringing the community to new crossroads and weaving a new fabric that relates and integrates more effectively with the rest of the country. It makes the challenge appear even more daunting, but that’s the point. Challenging ourselves to do better for each other and our nation.”



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MP’s wife, father-in-law among three detained

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Rishad held under PTA to be questioned

16-year-old girl’s death:

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Police investigating the death of 16-year-old Ishalini, the domestic servant at All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader Rishad Bathiudeen’s Baudhaloka Mawatha residence have arrested Ayesha Shiabdeen, 46, the wife of the former minister.

Police also took into custody Rishad’s father-in-law Mohammed Shiabdeen, 70, and Ponnaiah Pandaram alias Shankar, 64, a resident of Dayagama.

Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said that Shankar had brought Ilashini from Dayagama to the Baudhaloka Mawatha residence of Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) Vanni District lawmaker late last year.

Having studied the post postmortem report, they were taken into custody in terms of Section 360 C and Section 308 B of the Penal Code that dealt with human trafficking and cruelty to children, the top police officer said. According to him, so far 20 statements had been recorded.

Asked whether MP Bathiudeen, too, had been among the questioned, Senior DIG Rohana said the parliamentarian detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) over 2019 Easter Sunday carnage, too, would be interrogated in that regard.

The ACMC contested the last general election on the SJB ticket. It switched its allegiance to the SJB ahead of 2020 general election after having represented the cabinet in UNP led yahapalana administration. Rishad has also served President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cabinet during his second term.

Having suffered serious burn injuries on July 3 at the MP’s residence and admitted to the National Hospital, Illashini succumbed to her injuries on July 15th. Medical examination revealed that she had been raped over a period of time.

The police spokesman said that they intended to secure court approval to detain the suspects for 72 hours. A Superintendent of Police could obtain such approval on the strength of a B report submitted to the court in respect of offenses on children.

Although, the police indicated earlier in the day they would be produced in Colombo Magistrate court they weren’t brought in.

Meanwhile, the SJB said that interested parties were making a despicable attempt to politicize the incident. The police should be allowed to conduct the investigation without interference, a spokesman for the main Opposition party said.

 

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Women’s organisations in North conduct protests demanding justice for Ilashini

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A section of those engaged in Jaffna protests

 

By Dinasena Ratugamage

Women’s organisations in the North yesterday held a number of demonstrations in Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Jaffna against the death of J. Ilashini, the 16 -year-old girl who died while working at SJB MP Rishad Bathiudeen’s residence.

The protesters urged authorities to ensure that investigations into the death are conducted in a transparent manner. The family of the victim should be compensated and those guilty punished, they said.

Representatives of the organisations said that if justice was not done, they would hold a massive demonstration in Tarapuram, Mannar, which Bathiudeen represents in Parliament.

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Dancer lodges complaint with police over FB post 

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Police headquarters yesterday (23) said that dancer Anusha Damayanthi had lodged a complaint with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) over a Facebook post alleging that she was running a brothel.

Police headquarters said that Damayanthi, while denying the accusation, had also brought to the CID’s notice that a minister was being accused of lambasting the Walana anti-crime strike force for carrying out the raid. Police said that an investigation was underway.

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