“We cannot run away from our responsibility” for the Easter tragedy – Ranil

“We cannot run away from the responsibility that there were serious lapses that led to the Easter attacks,” Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told the Parliamentary Select Committee probing the terror strikes earlier this evening (6 Aug).

“The Cabinet and the government are responsible under the Constitution, but I have not been still able to find out why I was not informed about the intelligence warning,” he added.

Today’s committee comprised Dr Nalinda Jayatissa, Prof Ashu Marasinghe, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, M A Sumanthiran, Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Chairman Ananda Kumarasiri, Dr Jayampathi Wickremaratne and Minister Rauff Hakeem.

Wickremesinghe was asked a number of questions about the relationship that existed between him and President Maithripala Sirisena and asked whether their falling out was a factor that proper action was not taken to mitigate the situation.

The PM avoided the question but revealed that although most VIP Security Divisions of the Police appeared to have been given the information, his own Prime Minister’s Security Division was kept in the dark.

The Prime Minister echoed the statements of other witnesses when he said that there was information about the National Thowheed Jamaat and its leader Zaharan Hashmi. He said that the Intelligence Agencies had reported that Zaharan was following and advocating the extremist form of Islam spread by Islamic State.

“However at the time there was no indication that they were moving on to becoming an armed militant group,” he said.

Wickremesinghe also said that the best solution in his mind was that there should be a separate Minister for Law and Order, but the President took this for himself.

“When I asked him about it the President said that because there was an investigation into an alleged assassination conspiracy, he would like to keep this Ministry for himself until that investigation was over,” the PM said.

Before the Prime Minister, former Law and Order Ministers Ranjith Madduma Bandara and Sagala Ratnayake deposed before the Committee.

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