Anti-Muslim violence: Govt won’t interfere in investigations – Kabir

Despite both government and opposition parliamentarians claiming knowledge of an elusive “invisible hand” said to be behind this week’s anti-Muslim violence, the Government will not interfere in ongoing police investigations into the incident, Minister Kabir Hashim said.

Speaking to RepublicNext on the sidelines of a press conference held in Colombo today, the Minister said this was a similar situation to how, in the immediate aftermath of the Easter Sunday bombings, a number of leaders from both sides of the political divide had alluded to an unnamed force.

“There were allegations that the Easter Sunday bombings were also the work of an invisible hand, a foreign hand. This was a matter raised by many an opposition as well as government politician. But nobody has been able to pinpoint exactly who was behind it or who had motivated these guys,” said Hashim.

“These are things that the intelligence agencies of this country have to find out and take action against,” he added.

Similarly, said Hashim, with respect to the recent communal violence, certain groups suspected to be responsible have been identified and are being investigated.

“What happened in Kurunegala and Minuwangoda a few days ago — similar incidents occurred last year and before that. There are some identified groups, named groups. I think the police has picked up some of those people and they’re being questioned at the moment, held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA),” he said.

When pressed about the political forces alleged to be behind the arrested individuals, the Minister said the police is currently examining all available evidence, adding that “a lot of legal action” will be taken in the future.

“On principle, the United National Party (UNP) has decided that we will not interfere in any of these police activities, and we’ll let the police act independently. We hope the opposition does the same. I think the police is acting very strongly and independently at the moment,” he said.

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