NE Muslims to take up arms if no favourable response

Dec 29 (IL) Muslims in the North and East are becoming desperate and they are agitating to take up arms to resolve their problems if there is no favourable response to their genuine grievances, the newly formed North-East Muslim Peace Assembly (NEMPA) yesterday declared.

The NEMPA secretary general M.I.M. Mohideen yesterday evening said: "Despite a decision taken at the 5th session of the peace talks in Berlin to establish LTTE-Muslim District Committees in all districts in the East, to mediate lands and other issues between the Tamils and Muslims, the Muslim issues in the North-East are becoming graver daily."

The initiative to form NEMPA, a Muslim civil organization was taken during a consultation by the Chairman of the Foundation for Co-existence Dr. Kumar Rupesinghe. The assembly's role is to negotiate with the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government over genuine Muslim grievances faced in by the population in the North and East.

Mr. Mohideen also said that the Tamil Tigers has given an assurance that it would do away with taxes on Tamil and Muslim traders in the future when various economic ventures in fishing and agriculture begin to yield profits.

Meanwhile LTTE Trincomalee district commander Pathuman Amman has agreed to a meeting with the assembly to resolve the Tamil Muslim conflicts in Trincomalee. Chairman of the Foundation for Co-existence is making necessary arrangements with the Prime Minister's Peace secretariat and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauff Hakeem to reactivate the LTTE-Muslim District Committee in the North and East provinces.