Rishad Bathiudeen is being branded a terrorist by the opposition because he has stopped supporting the Podujana Peramuna, says Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera.
In an article published on-line Samaraweera alleges that when President Maithripala Sirisena appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister last October 26 there were efforts to get Bathiudeen to support the new government.
Samaraweera writes “they pleaded with this very same so-called terrorist Rishad Bathiudeen to join their government. They tried bribing him. They tried threatening him. But Rishad Bathiudeen refused to support an illegal government.”
Samaraweera says “had he supported Rajapaksa in Parliament last year, there would not have been a no-confidence motion against him. He would not be called a terrorist.”
“Even today he is being cajoled to join the other side in exchange for the removal of his “terrorist label.” This is a man who served as a Cabinet Minister under them for almost a decade, who we are supposed to believe suddenly became a terrorist overnight after he stood by the UNP and by democracy,” he adds
Samaraweera warns that “when a political party, media organization or religious leader depends for their survival on one group of Sri Lankans becoming afraid of another, we must be wary of them. When their survival depends on highlighting what divides us and undermining what unites us, we must be wary of them.”
“What role is there for them in a Sri Lanka in which Sinhalese women were not afraid of lurking Muslim doctors waiting to sterilize them, and instead choose their doctor without regard to religion. What role is there for them in a Sri Lanka where a Christian need not be tempted to convert to Buddhism to succeed in politics?”