Former Colombo deputy mayor and founder leader of the National Unity front Azath Salley who was released after 8 days of “arrest” under the Prevention of Terrorism Act has denied that he had apologized to President Rajapaksa to secure his freedom as alleged in some sections of the state media. Salley in an interview to the “Ceylon Today”newspaper queried as to why he should apologize to the President and stated that all what he conveyed to the president was included in the affidavit he had submitted.
pic via: facebook.com/mazathssalley
Excerpts of the interview and affidavit published in “Ceylon Today” are reproduced below-
Q: Did you apologize to the President in order to get released?
A: No. Why should I? The government media are now saying that I apologized. All what I said was included in the affidavit.
Q: What did the CID ask from you?
A: They took a statement before I was released on Friday.
Q: Does that mean, they kept you in detention for eight days without questioning?
A: On the first day of my arrest, they asked some basic questions and wrote 13 pages. You know those basic questions like my name, mother’s name and how my forefathers came to Sri Lanka centuries ago, stuff like that. Nothing substantial. After that, I was started fasting and I was not in a position to give a statement. And they had to take a statement from me before I was released. So they took a statement on Friday.
Q: What did you tell them?
A: I told them the same thing that I wrote in the affidavit. I also told them to go and arrest Bodu Bala Sena Secretary Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera, because he had described 83 mosques in Akurana as Taliban bunkers. I told them (CID) to arrest him and get more information about the Taliban in Sri Lanka. I also told them to question Udaya Gammanpila, who had warned that the 1915 Muslim-Sinhala riots would happen soon. They (CID) should question him about those remarks, but the funny thing is that one who appeals for peace is in custody while those who fuel ethnic disharmony are roaming free.
Q: Did any government ministers visit you?
A: Yes, many
Q: Who are they?
A: Rajitha (Senaratne) and Rishad (Bathiudeen) came to see me in the hospital while I was in CID custody on the first day. But on the second day, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, S.B. Dissanayake, Tissa Attanayake and many others came, but they were not allowed to see me.
Q: Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has alleged that you had conspired to wage an armed struggle against the country…
A: Gotabhaya Rajapaksa should know I am a more patriotic Sri Lankan than him. I did not help Bodu Bala Sena. I am advocating that we, all communities, should be able to live in this country with equal rights.
Mohamed Azath Sanoon Salley
I, Mohammed Azath Salley of 61/A Flower Road, Colombo 7, being a Muslim do hereby solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm as follows:
I am the affirmant above named.
I state that I gave an interview to the Junior Vikatan magazine published in India. I state that in the manner in which the interview was published I have been misquoted. Upon realizing this I requested them to publish a correction which has been republished.
As a Sri Lankan Muslim, I don’t advocate or support anyone to take up arms against the Republic of Sri Lanka as I am fully aware of the consequences and the costs of such a course of action as seen through the three decade war in Sri Lanka.
I have stood for and will continue to stand for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and for the equal rights of all communities. If anyone is misled by the interview published in the Junior Vikatan or if anyone has been disturbed , I express my regrets.
I state that I attended a conference organized by the “ Popular Front of India” purely on the basis of an invitation extended to me by the said organization and I participated solely as an invitee for the first time. I had not prior knowledge of the said organization background and their motives.
As a patriotic citizen of the Republic of Sri Lanka and who supports the sovereignty of Sri Lanka I will not support anyone who makes statements against Sri Lanka or its national security and I condemn such actions and statements.