Easter attack probe: Kattankudy police unaware of impending strike

Warnings about the Easter Sunday attacks by the terror group led by Zaharan Hashim had been sent to several police divisions but not to the Kattankudy Police station where he was based, the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing the incidents heard today.

The Officer in Charge of the Kattankudy Police Inspector Nishantha Kasthuriarachchi who testified before the PSC today said he did not get any of the intelligence warnings which other Police divisions seem to have received.

Kasthuriarachchi said that Zaharan and two others, his brother Rilwan and a person known as Army Mohideen had fled the area by the time he took this post.

He also said that it was unlikely that they returned because he was confident the local community would have informed the police.

The Inspector was closely questioned by the Members of the Committee as to why no action was taken against Zaharan despite the local community making complaints against him.

Kasthuriarachchi said that there was a case against 13 others who were members of the same group who were out on bail. They had been charged with engaging in violent activities and criticizing other religious groups. He said they would come to the Police station to report every month as per a court order.

The Inspector was also asked as to whether there was an investigation into an allegation that Zaharan was not arrested because he had links to police officers.

Kasthuriarachchi denied that there was such a case.

The Inspector insisted that this terror group did n: not carry out any activities in the Kattankudy area but had been active in the Nuwara Eliya and Hambantota areas.

After Kasthuriarachchi, his predecessor Chief Inspector Ariyabandu Welagedara testified that Zaharan’s aide Army Mohideen was an Army informant.

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Welagedara said that there were several Muslim religious groups in Kaththankudy area. There are rival groups who have ideological conflicts. The majority were from traditional Muslims. They were against the new radicals who were led by Zaharan, he said.

The committee comprised the following members: Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa, Dr. Jayampathy Wickremeratne, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, Prof Ashu Marasinghe, Ananda Kumarasiri, Rauff Hakeem and M A Sumanthiran.

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