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Easter attacks: SF says the government has failed the Catholic community

ECONOMYNEXT – Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka is promising that a future government that will be formed by his party will ensure that the Catholics in the country get justice for the Easter Sunday attacks.

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, the Opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya MP said that the current government promised to bring the masterminds behind the Easter Attacks before the law within two months of gaining power.

That promise has not been kept, it was a false political promise, the former Army Commander said.

“We should take a look at how the events played out before the April 21st attacks,” Fonseka told Parliament.

On April 4, the Indian Intelligence Bureau informed our State Intelligence Service (SIS) through the High Commission of India in Colombo that there will be attacks on Catholic Churches and Hotels on April 21 Fonseka said.

This information was conveyed to Deputy Inspector General of Police Nilanga Jayawardene along with the intelligence that it was to be perpetrated by Muslim extremists.

“The DIG took this information lightly and informed the Defense Secretary only on April 8,” Fonseka pointed out.

Fonseka, who was a member of the Parliamentary Committee that examined the Easter attacks said that it cannot be true that Jayawardene who used to speak with President Maithripala Sirisena several times a day had not informed the Head of State of this threat.

“The Presidential Commission also says it cannot believe this statement,” Fonseka said.

Fonseka pointed out that the National Security Council (NSC) had not been convened for two months, and a threat such as this should have been discussed and suitable instructions issued to Police and Armed Forces to respond to it at the NSC level.

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“Although the government is seeking to say that Zaharan Hashim was the mastermind behind the Easter attacks so that they can close the chapter, we all know that he cannot be the person who played that role,” Fonseka said.

“Shortly after the attacks in a speech in Parliament, I said that Zaharan was not the mastermind. He has played a role in building up the organisation that carried out the attacks,” Fonseka who was the former Army Commander said.

The current government, including the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, has stated that Zaharan was on the government payroll.

Fonseka said that before the war ended there was no record of Zaharan being involved in any type of Intelligence activity during the war years.

He says the commission has reported that Zaharan and his supporters had visited Syria to meet Islamic State leaders between 2013 and 2014.

“Without convening the NSC, President Sirisena was lazy and did nothing to provide direction to the security apparatus,” Fonseka charged.

He also said that Sirisena falsely said he could not get seats on an aircraft to return to Colombo from Singapore where he had gone on a private visit when the blasts occurred.

Fonseka pointed out several flaws in the system that contributed to the security breach.

“We don’t have a proper Chief of Defence Staff now because the government that is power now changed the Act to make the position powerless so that when I took over I will not be given those rights,” Fonseka said.

Fonseka questioned as to why several volumes of the Presidential Commission report have not been released.

“The government has said they contain sensitive information. What sensitive information can there be after an attack has taken place?” (Colombo, March 11, 2021)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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