Zahran never helped me; he tried to destroy me - Hizbullah

Zahran never helped me; he tried to destroy me - Hizbullah

June 13, 2019   08:16 pm

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Former Governor M. L.A.M. Hizbullah stated that he has no connection with Zahran Hashim – the alleged ringleader behind the Easter Sunday attacks – and that Zahran Hashim had only worked to ‘destroy’ him.

Testifying before the Special Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to look into the Easter Sunday attacks he stated that he has only met with Zahran once. 

According to the former Governor, a couple of days after receiving nominations for the 2015 parliamentary election, Zahran Hashim called all Muslim contestants for a meeting. 

Hizbullah said, “Usually all nominees go meet everyone to garner votes. Back then he was just a person who preached religion under his organization ‘National Thowheed Jamaath’. Although his teachings were a bit extreme, he was just a person who spread religion. He was a good debater and he talked to youth about religion in his small shed of an office. I wasn’t the only one who went to the meeting. Sri Lanka Muslim Congress nominees who contested in Kattankudy were all there; Abdu Rahman, Shibly Farook. Even Rauf Hakeem was asked to come.”

“He wasn’t a terrorist back then. He is a terrorist and a murderer. There is no doubt about this. But he wasn’t a terrorist in 2015 when he met us. He was only a leader of a religious group. He had young followers. He was a religious leader. Back then he was just a person who engaged in religious activity under a group named National Thowheed Jamaath.”

Testifying, the former governor stated that all Muslim nominees requested Zahran’s support at the election and that they signed an agreement on certain conditions set by Zahran in order get his support.

“We all asked for his support in the election. But he set some conditions if we were to gain his support. We all signed it. The conditions were like ‘Cannot play music in meetings. Cannot use firecrackers during the election time period. Separate females and males at meetings. No music during announcements. We all agreed to these in order to gain votes. If he had been a terrorist we wouldn’t go meet him back then. But we all went because he wasn’t a terrorist. He was just a leader of a religious group”, said Hizbullah.

However, two days after the meeting, Zahran had declared the agreement with him void over a case of playing music during an announcement, he said. After the incident, Zahran had worked against him, according to Hizbullah.

“He worked completely against me. He used his office as an elections office he put up notes against me every day, he held press conferences. I have written to the Elections Commissioner in 2015 regarding this.”

According to Hizbullah, Zahran had made him lose nearly 2000 votes and lose the election by 121 votes. When Hizbullah was appointed to the parliament through the national list, Zahran had rallied against it.

Hizbullah says that, in 2017, Zahran attacked a group ‘Sufi’ people in Batticaloa who supported Hizbullah. When a complaint was lodged on this, nine people had been arrested and five others had been issued warrants.

“We protested calling for the arrest of these persons. After March 2017, Zahran left our village. The next time we got to know him was when the Easter Sunday attacks happened”, he added.

“I have no connection with Zahran. He has never helped me and he hasn’t helped me. He has worked completely against me politically. He worked to destroy me. Not only him; his whole team did”, said Hizbullah.

Referring to the recent statement made by him at a mosque on being a global majority, Hizbullah said that he made the comment only to encourage the Muslims who had been living in fear after the attacks. 

According to him, when the media published the statement he made at the mosque, they had edited away the beginning and the end of the speech leaving only the middle part.

Pointing out that he had declared that Sri Lanka was a Buddhist country three times at the parliament despite criticism from the Muslim community, the former governor stated that he would never do such a thing.

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