Ali Sabry, a member of the legal team of Gotabaya’s presidential counsel, has reportedly claimed that Muslims will need to vote for Gotabaya or may face reprisals, according to a report in the Colombo Telegraph.
In a video that has been circulated on Facebook and Twitter, Sabry is seen speaking to a Muslim crowd and asking the audience; “If we don’t support him, what will happen?”
To which a member of the crowd responds “ambanaikku kidaikkum” which roughly translates to “a lot will happen” or “we will be beaten a lot”.
Sabry has claimed that Gotabya has already won the election on Sinhala votes and in order for Muslims to safeguard themselves against racist violence they must show Gotabaya that his victory was not solely due to the Sinhalese.
In response to the circulation of this video, Sabry has claimed he was misquoted as part of a smear campaign by the UNP. He told reporters;
“UNP realising they are losing Muslim votes have totally misquoted a comment from the crowd and attributing it to me”.
Speaking at an event in Colombo arranged by the National Muslim Collective, Sabry claimed that 35% of Muslims were supporting Gotabaya and that the SLPP campaign team was wording to raise this to 50%.
Speaking to the Muslim delegates he further said;
“We are proud Sri Lankans and that’s why we call this organisation the National Muslim Collective. First, we are Sri Lankans. We don't want giveaways or to be in someone’s payroll. We want to ensure the security in the country and reject extremism be it Sinhalese, Muslim or Tamil. We don’t want anything above or below the law. We want equality,”
Read Colombo Telegraph here and Daily Mirror here.