The Commissioners and staff would like to express their condolences to the family of Mr. Pattani Razeek Managing Trustee of CTF. It is with great sadness that members of the staff and management of the LST attended the funeral of Mr. Pattani Razeek, who went missing/ was abducted in February 2010. The Commission strongly condemns the killing of this human rights defender and respected member of the community and is disturbed by the fact that the investigation into his disappearance and death was delayed for so long. The Commission also appreciated the manner in which the funeral was concluded in Sameeragama, Puttalam, without incidents despite the many rumors and allegations that were circulating at that time.
There have been allegations of political interference in the investigation, and if this is indeed the case, we strongly condemn such interference. It is necessary that the authorities investigate all avenues of culpability in the case and see that justice is done. Additionally we hope that the case will be expedited and the perpetrators punished in keeping with the law. It is only fitting that the case is concluded speedily and the family is given some relief and closure after the harrowing 500+ days that they had to spend without knowing Mr. Razeek's fate.
The Commission is aware that this incident of personal criminality and possible institutional corruption is being understood by some as a problem between the host and displaced communities. Elements within both communities may capitalize on this tragic event for motives that have little to do with the well being and safety of either community. The Commission is aware, from the work that it has done among the northern Muslims that the community by and large are grateful to the host community for the welcome extended to them when they first arrived. The Commission from its engagement with the host community recognizes the difficulties that the host community has had to undergo as a result of the sudden influx of northern Muslims twenty years ago and the minimal assistance by the state to support such a large and sudden increase of people in the area. The Commission is also aware that despite the differences that have arisen from time to time the two communities have been able to coexist amicably with only minor incidents. It is to the credit of the leadership of both communities that this amity has been maintained. We urge both communities to continue to regard each other with the respect that they have long maintained. Mr.Razeek was known for his commitment and work with the northern Muslims and many in the community respect his memory and are shocked by and mourn his death. The Commission urges all parties concerned to not let this terrible criminal act by a few individuals damage the good relationship between the communities.
The Commission calls upon the leadership of both communities—particularly the Puttalam Grand Mosque committee on the side of the host community, and civil society and political leaders from among the northern Muslims-- to do their utmost to alleviate the tensions that have emerged. The fact that the two communities have their differences is well known. This is inevitable given the past
twenty years where the northern Muslims have been compelled to make a life for themselves in the Puttalam district through no fault of their own, and the host community has been compelled to accommodate the almost doubling of the population of the area and the strain on their space, resources and infrastructure-- also through no fault of their own.
While many northern Muslims have left for the north and many others are planning to leave, it is likely that a large number of northern Muslims will also finally take on residency and voting status in the Puttalam area and settle down. Thereby both communities will benefit for the long term from the economic development, greater interest in education and the spirit of competition that the northern Muslims have brought to Puttalam. The added numbers will bring the much needed increase in resource allocations to the area as well. In this context it is essential that the northern Muslim vs host community difference that is being mobilized at this time is not permitted to take on an unfavorable hue.
The abduction and killing of Mr. Razeek is a terrible, inhuman criminal act and it is essential that the utmost is done to bring all those involved to justice. Care should be taken that the issue is not politicized by elements of either the northern Muslim community or the host community in a manner that unduly damages the relations between the Muslim communities in Puttalam as a whole and does nothing to further the investigations into the case. Efforts should be made instead to ensure that the investigation is carried out and justice is done.