Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Minister Rauff Hakeem says the video clip showing him with terrorist Zaharan Hashim has been removed after viewers spotted the current Podujana Peramuna organiser in Kattankudy in the same video.
The video clip apparently shot shortly after the 2015 elections, showed Hakeem meeting Zaharan and others, which led to the SLPP calling on Hakeem to recuse himself from the Parliamentary Committee probing into the Easter Sunday suicide attacks.
Police say Zaharan, an Islamic extremist was the leader of the group that staged the attack killing 260 people in Churches and
“I found last night that Hiru TV which posted the video has removed them as the man standing next to the bomber is the current SLPP organiser of Kattankudy M.S.M Ziyad,” he said
He also added that the video is no longer available on youtube.
Hakeem said “I wish to record my outright repudiation of this baseless allegations and to be stranded and deterred from my duty at this watershed moment in our politics.
Further, he said the false accusations against him and his party SLMC will not frighten them from discharging their sacred duty of safeguarding the democratic gains they have made after 8 Jan 2015.
The minister said the video clip shows a public encounter in the year 2015, wherein Zahran Hashim was a part of the group of people he had addressed at that time.
Further, he said as a leader of a party which represents an ethno- religion constituency of the Muslims in Sri Lanka and as a more substantial segment of this constituency is in the Eastern Province,
“ It is common knowledge that politicians passionately cultivate their foundational constituency and I am no exception to that,”
He also said that he had no physic power to read the minds of people he meets during these meetings to know that he would be a suicide bomber in the future, and he said that in 2015 Zahran or any of his accomplices were identified as terrorists or potential terrorists by any of the law enforcement agencies.
It was revealed at the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing into Easter attacks that he became a fugitive after 2017
He said that his meeting was an open event and not a secret meeting like which the former leaders had with the LTTE to persuade them to boycott the presidential election in 2015.
Leader of SLMC said that the joint opposition refuses to participate in the PSC as they wanted to disrupt the process of discovery of the truth of the Easter attacks.
Hakeem said as a consequence of this baseless allegations have resulted in some joint opposition members placing the report and the findings of the PSC under a cloud.
The minister said that the video depicted a meeting with some political activists who briefed on incidents of violence linked to supporters of a candidate in Kattankudy.