Sri Lankan govt distances itself from minister’s “deportation” comments

The government of Sri Lanka has distanced itself from the comments of a Sri Lankan minister who called for the deportation of Maldivian asylum seekers.

On Friday (March 15), Minister of Technology, Research and Atomic Energy Patali Champika Ranawaka called on the Sri Lankan government to take action against Maldivians who are converging in areas in the country.

Sri Lanka’s Presidential Spokesperson Mohan Samaranayake told local media on Tuesday (March 19) that Minister Champika’s comments had been made in the minister’s own personal capacity, and did not reflect the views of the government.

The Presidential Spokesperson added that Maldivians living in the country did not pose a problem for the government and had yet to cause any difficulties.

Sri Lankan media reported last week that Champika had called for the government to carry out a census of all Maldivians living in the country and subsequently arrange for the deportation of those seeking asylum.

Speaking to Minivan News on Monday (March 18), Minister Champika attempted to clarify his previous comments, claiming that he was only referring to Maldivians living in Sri Lanka illegally.

“There are roughly 18,000 students studying in Sri Lanka and they pose no problem. However the guardians of the students then decide to come over too, their parents and brothers are now residing here.

“The problem is when these guardians start trying to permanently settle down within this country illegally,” Champika claimed.

According to Sri Lankan media, minister Champika alleged that “thousands” of Maldivians were seeking political protection within the country due to internal tension within the Maldives.

“Thousands of its citizens are now in areas such as Dehiwela, Ratmalana, Nugegoda, and they are seeking political protection and [it] would be a tremendous problem to Sri Lanka in the near future,” the Minister was quoted as saying by Sri Lankan-based publication the ‘Mirror’.

Despite the Minister’s comments, Maldives High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Hussain Shihab told local newspaper Haveeru that relations between the two countries were at an “all time high”.

Furthermore, Shihab claimed Sri Lanka was receiving large economic benefits from Maldivians living in the country, stating “[Sri] Lanka acknowledges the benefits they get from Maldivians.”

In regard to Minister Champika’s comments, the High Commissioner claimed that they could have been based on some “wrong” information, further stressing that the sentiment was not shared by the Sri Lankan government.

“If the Sri Lanka government was concerned, why would they ease the visa process for Maldivians? [Sri] Lanka has facilitated the visa of Maldivians coming here for medical treatment. So there is no policy to implement any restrictions on Maldivians,” he was quoted as saying.

Minister Champika’s comments were made in light of proliferation of Saudi ‘madrassas’ – religious teachers – who are accused of propagating extremist Islamic ideas in Sri Lanka.

The minister stated that there are roughly 700 madrassas currently teaching in religious schools in the country, and it had been established that the religious teachers had been connected to recent disputes within Sri Lanka.


21 thoughts on “Sri Lankan govt distances itself from minister’s “deportation” comments”

  1. So it is confirmed. We are not alone in this pit.

    They do have idiots like Reeko Moosa and Riyaz Rasheed.

    I am so relieved. Whew!!

  2. Sri Lanka's love-hate relationship with Maldivians:

  3. JHU and BBS is not only a problem for the minority, but even for right thinking, broad minded, decent Sri-Lankans from all walks of life. These two groups tarnishing the reputation of sri-lankans who are known for centuries for their friendly and tolerence character. If the govt including the president does not take action to nip this cancer in the bud, Sri-Lanka will witness another turmoil which I doubt will ever emerge from that. It could trunt out to be another Zimbabwe or Somalia.

  4. This ignorant minister ,belongs to a rascist buddhist organisation ,he is worried because maldivians are moslems .Its okay to srilankans to go and settle down in other part of the world and obtain greencard, dual citizenship and be ministers in srilanka govt.Why not for other nationals if they are persecuted in there own country ?

  5. Hey minister champika ,Maldivians can go to Malaysia,Singapore and India to spend there money in excellent colleges and the finest hospitals Too. You are such a short minded ignorant.Srilanka has lot to lose.Go and visit the apollo hospitals or any other hospitals, they visited srilanka for its hospitality .They are not living on our tax payers money.We are living at the mercy of IMF, World bank ,Middleeast, China,Iran and rest of the world.

  6. Politically Bankrupt Minister It is high time to take him to a Mental Hospital

  7. Sooner or later ,The so called owners of ceylon like saddam,gaddaffi,and the rest of the oppressors you will need a place to hide for your evil thoughts.

  8. We know who Chamika is. He targets Maldivians bcos they are Muslims. Its not a secret. I would like to ask Champika's stance on whether Sri Lanka is a multi religious country and multi cultural country. No doubt this cardboard hero waves his hands to another ethnic crisis. Now we can imagine what must have been done to Tamils in the past for them to sought for an armed struggle

  9. Don't listen to this champika. He needs mental treatment. Maldivians are more than welcome in Sri Lanka and can stay as long as they want.

  10. Sri Lanka and Maldives have had undying relationships from time immemorial!

    If there were issues, howsoever, in the past they had been resolved without most of either nationality knowing anything happened!

    Sri Lankan businesses are doing well in the Maldives and are profiting!

    It may be time Maldives should take notice of his madness!

    If the minister wanted popularity, streaking would be an option to go naked even dressed!

  11. If the minister's claim that Maldivians are illegally settling down in SriLanka, misusing the entry given to their family members to study in SriLanka, then how can anyone say it is a racist attitude. No country in the world can allow illegal immigrants to settle down. Sri Lanka already has a problem with South Indian Tamil illegal immigrants who settled down in large numbers during colonial rule and in the last three decades under Prabakaran's control of the North.

  12. Then what will happened to Srilankans working in Many Maldivians Islands.Are you ready to give Jobs to them.Are u a real Buddhist

  13. Champika has now become a champion of Budhhists but he was a strong Catholic before becoming a Buddha puthra and trying to create tensions among other religions and ethnic groups. Explore him and find the truth.

  14. Hi- Hello when a cabinet minister make a statement it is always considered as a government statement. How can the minister make a statement "personal capacity" and "official capacity". This is the same person. Same human being. Is this double acting.He must resign from the cabinet and make personal statments not while drawing a salary as a minister in the Sri Lanka Government. bye- NihalG

  15. When Mrs. George(the first Sri Lankan teacher)came to the Maldives, she did not come alone. She came with her husband and children. Later, her brothers and sisters followed!!!!

    Minister, what are you talking about? Maldivians are Sri Lankans.

    Please give us citizenship.We demand it.


  17. It sounds really insulting - isn't it, when irresponsible comments are made by people who are supposed to be driving the country.
    So next time, Maldivian ministers and people in responsible posts should also keep their words diplomatic when commenting on other countries or people.

  18. It is nice to know that we Maldivians and Sri Lankans have equal share of idiots in the political arena. One more thing in common between the two countries to go along with our love of tuna:)


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