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Wednesday February 28th, 2024

Sri Lanka’s Suresh Sallay complicit in Easter bombings: report

BLAST EFFECT: Easter Sunday blasts by Islamist extremists generated widespread sympathy in the West giving Sri Lanka breathing space to follow better policy – if it wants to.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s current intelligence chief, Suresh Sallay, was complicit in the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings that killed 279 people, including 45 foreign nationals, a British newspaper claimed Monday.

Major General Suresh Sallay hatched the plot while working for the directorate of military intelligence and with the objective of creating instability to clear the way for Rajapaksas to return to power.

The Times newspaper said Sally was involved with the Easter Sunday bombers to destabilise the country.

The paper was quoting from an interview with an insider to be aired on Tuesday on Britain’s Channel 4, in which an interviewee claims the deadly bombings were orchestrated by Sri Lanka’s military intelligence.

Sallay was promoted as head of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) no sooner Gotabaya Rajapaksa came to power in November 2019. He was given a one-year service extension by President Ranil Wickremesinghe recently.

Islamic extremists set off suicide bombings at two Catholic churches, a Christian church and three hotels. The attacks were later claimed by the Islamic State group.

The insider identified as Azad Maulana, a former top aide of chief minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, had spoken of Sallay planning the attacks for about three years.

“Suresh Salley came to me and told me the Rajapaksas need an unsafe situation in Sri Lanka, that’s the only way for Gotabaya to become president,” Maulana was quoted as saying.

“The attack was not a plan made in just one or two days, the plan was two, three years in the making.”

There was no immediate response from the Sri Lankan government or the SIS.

Maulana fled Sri Lanka last year fearing for his life and has sought asylum in Europe.

RelatedSri Lanka President is not mastermind of Easter attack: Secretary

Sri Lankan authorities failed to act on warnings issued by an intelligence agency in neighbouring India 17 days before the coordinated suicide bombings, according to several investigations into the attacks.

Accusations of the involvement of Sri Lankan intelligence operatives, has already been reported to courts. However, this is the first time Sallay is directly accused of plotting the attacks.

The Sunday Times said in a letter to Channel 4, Salley called the allegations “outright false”
and denied any contact with the individuals who were in the video report.

He was not in Sri Lanka on the dates the alleged contact with the bombers and had no connection with the bombers.

Sallay had previously threatened to sue a Catholic priest who had implied that the military intelligence unit headed by him at the time was responsible.

The head of Sri Lanka’s Roman Catholic Church urged the United Nations in March last year to investigate the Easter Sunday bombings calling it a “political plot”.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith demanded a mechanism to probe the attacks, which the authorities have blamed on local Islamist radicals.

“The first impression of this massacre was that it was purely the work of a few Islamic extremists,” Ranjith said.

“However, subsequent investigations indicate that this massacre was part of a grand political plot.”

The Church has previously suggested that the attacks helped Gotabaya Rajapaksa win the presidential elections in November the same year.

Rajapaksa went against tradition by appointing Sallay to head the SIS, a position previously held by a senior police officer.

Rajapaksa was ousted from power in 2022, initially fleeing to Singapore and Thailand, but has since returned under tight security. Sallay remains the head of the intelligence service. (COLOMBO, Sept 4/2023)

Comments (2)

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  1. Dr P Thilakawardhana says:

    Cat is out of the bag at last. The interesting thing is it took all this time (3 years).

  2. Shiran Mendis says:

    Round & round the Mulberry Bush!!

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Comments (2)

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Dr P Thilakawardhana says:

    Cat is out of the bag at last. The interesting thing is it took all this time (3 years).

  2. Shiran Mendis says:

    Round & round the Mulberry Bush!!

Sri Lanka confident of “smoother” IMF second review: State Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s second review for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan would be smoother than the first as the government has implemented many reforms required for the economic recovery, State Finance Minister Shehan Semasinghe said.

An IMF mission will visit Sri Lanka on March 7 and will engage in the review of second tranche of the $3 billion IMF loan for two weeks, he said.

“The second review will commence on the 7th of March, and we are very confident that will be a smoother review than the first review,” Semasinghe told reporters at a media briefing in Colombo on Wednesday (28).

He said the the first review was difficult because of hard policy decisions taken by the government in the initial stages.

The global lender completed the first review of the 48-month Extended Fund Facility (EFF) on December 12 before disbursing $337 million to support the island nation’s economic policies and reforms.

The IMF after the first review said Sri Lanka’s performance under the program was satisfactory while “all but one performance criteria and all but one indicative targets were met at end-June”.

Sri Lanka implemented most structural benchmarks due by end-October 2023, though some with delay. (Colombo/Feb 28/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s religious leaders need to cultivate harmony: Prez

ECONOMYNEXT – The responsibility of cultivating harmony rests significantly on the shoulders of religious leaders, Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has said.

“While politicians often pursue power, religious leaders strive to maintain their positions, frequently resorting to the perilous avenues of racism and bigotry. This unfortunate trend has plagued our country since the 1930s, yielding disastrous outcomes,” Wickremesinghe was quoted by his media division as saying at the ‘Religions to Reconcile’ national inter-religious symposium, organized by the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka, held today (28) at the Bandaranaike International Conference Hall (BMICH).

“Our nation has endured the bitter consequences of racism and religious extremism, culminating in a devastating conflict.

“With the military conflict resolved, Sri Lanka’s political challenges are now receiving attention, necessitating a renewed focus on coexistence,” Wickremesinghe said, adding that steps are being taken to resolve land disputes, address the issue of missing persons, release certain individuals, and initiate a delimitation of powers.

The President’s speech:

Having acknowledged the intrinsic connection between religion and reconciliation, our nation has endured the bitter consequences of racism and religious extremism, culminating in a devastating conflict. Following the cessation of hostilities, our main objective has been to foster coexistence among all communities.

The responsibility of cultivating harmony rests significantly on the shoulders of religious leaders. It is imperative that we remain mindful of our intentions. While politicians often pursue power, religious leaders strive to maintain their positions, frequently resorting to the perilous avenues of racism and bigotry. This unfortunate trend has plagued our country since the 1930s, yielding disastrous outcomes that require no further explanation.

Take Singapore, for example, where the absence of racism and bigotry has contributed to its rapid development despite its diverse linguistic landscape. With the military conflict resolved, Sri Lanka’s political challenges are now receiving attention, necessitating a renewed focus on coexistence, a topic also being deliberated in Parliament.

Mr. Karu Jayasuriya, served as the Chairman of the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Religious Affairs and Co-Existence when he was serving as the Speaker. This committee was established in response to conflicts involving Muslims in March 2018, as well as incidents in Galle in 2017 and Beruwela in 2014. Various proposals were put forth by these committees to address these issues, and consensus was reached on their implementation. It’s crucial that we uphold this agreement and continue working collaboratively to resolve these challenges.

Towards the close of last year, numerous Buddhist monks and Tamil leaders presented the Himalaya Declaration, a document we are currently adhering to. As we move forward, the final phase entails fostering synergy, particularly through discussions with Tamil political parties and MPs, aimed at addressing lingering issues. Steps have been initiated to resolve the matter of missing persons, with further updates forthcoming in the near future. Additionally, arrangements have been made for the release of certain individuals held in connection with these matters.

The primary concern at present revolves around the fate of the missing persons. To address this issue, we’ve presented and successfully passed a bill in Parliament to establish the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Numerous reports from Disappearance Commissions have been reviewed, and one report authored by Judge A.H.M.D.Nawaz was selected.

Following the approval of the draft for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged his support for these initiatives. Similar assistance is being extended by other nations as well, enabling us to advance these critical endeavours.

Addressing the on-going political challenges, our attention is directed towards resolving land disputes, particularly in regions like Jaffna where tensions persist between villagers and the Wildlife Department. Similar conflicts also arise in areas such as Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Polonnaruwa, and Mahianganaya. We aim to address these issues through inclusive dialogue, involving all concerned parties. Furthermore, I have instructed to proceed in accordance with the 1985 map. Additionally, I anticipate meeting with Tamil MPs in Parliament next week to discuss these matters further. Following consultations with the security forces, agreements have been reached to release more land, providing a pathway forward in our efforts.

Another pressing issue is the delimitation of powers. A key demand is the empowerment of the 3rd list of devolution, with an emphasis on not interfering with police powers at present, leaving them open for future consideration. The Land Act is slated for presentation, and there are no objections to the delegation of other subjects in the 3rd list. However, securing the necessary consensus with other parties in Parliament to achieve a two-thirds majority remains crucial.

Simultaneously, discussions are underway regarding the implementation of the Provincial Board of Education. Proposals have been made to establish provincial professional training institutes in each province. Additionally, plans are underway to appoint provincial-level committees to lead the modernization of agriculture, establish a tourism board, and undertake related initiatives.

Additionally, the work of five provincial ministries is expected to be distributed among twenty ministries. This restructuring cannot simply resemble a general ministry, so officials are currently deliberating on adjusting their structure accordingly.

I eagerly anticipate addressing the final aspect of this matter, the decentralized budget, once all parties have convened. There’s also a call for a secondary board, akin to a Senate, which the government does not oppose. However, such an initiative would need to coincide with the framing of a constitution, potentially requiring a referendum. I also intend to engage in discussions on this topic with other party leaders.

These measures aim to lay the groundwork for a new era in our country. Religious leaders have been entrusted with significant responsibilities in this endeavour. I am confident that further discussions on these matters will yield fruitful outcomes.

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Sri Lanka rupee closes at 310.00/15 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 310.00/15 to the US dollar Wednesday, from 310.25/50 on Tuesday, dealers said.

Bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 01.02.2026 closed at 10.60/80 percent from 10.60/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.90/12.00 percent up from 11.80/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.03.2028 closed stable at 12.00/15 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.20/50 percent from 12.25/50 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed stable at 12.25/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2031 closed at 12.55/75 percent down from 12.60/80 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 12.50/90 percent down from 12.55/13.00 percent. (Colombo/Feb28/2024)

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