A Sri Lankan Minister has reportedly called for the deportation of Maldivians who are currently seeking asylum in Sri Lanka.
Local media reported Minister of Technology Research and Atomic Energy, Patali Champika Ranawaka, as calling on the government of Sri Lanka to take action against Maldivians who are converging in areas within the country.
During a ceremony to launch Patali’s book entitled ‘Al Jihad Al Qaeda’, the minister allegedly claimed that foreigners were flooding Sri Lanka due to conflicts in other countries.
“Because of the internal tensions in 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 in the Sri Lankan publication ‘Mirror’.
Sri Lankan media claimed the minister had then called for the government to carry out a proper census and subsequently arrange for the deportation of those seeking asylum.
The minister’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.
A media official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Minivan News today that it had “no comment” regarding the issue.
“If there is any comment regarding this issue made by the ministry, we will make it available to the media very soon,” he said.
Sri Lankan Minister of Technology Research and Atomic Energy Patali Champika Ranawaka was not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.