By Russel Hewawasam
(Lanka-e-News - 18.Feb.2021, 8.10AM) On April 21, Easter Sunday, about 300 unarmed people were brutally killed in a suicide attack targeting Catholic churches and tourist hotels in Sri Lanka. The report of the Presidential Commission appointed to look into the matter was examined for a year and completed its investigations last January 27th. It has been two weeks since the report was handed over to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Before the last presidential election, the Easter attack was the most serious political accusation made by the Rajapaksa political camp going around towns, villages and cities against the good governance making the country insecure.
The then presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapakse vowed to punish those who supported and sponsored the attack and those involved in various ways within two weeks of coming to power. It has been more than a year since he came to power, but despite the results being zero, Gotabhaya repeated the same story as President again on the 73rd Independence Day without any hesitation.
The Presidential Commission formed by Gotabaa to Investigate the Easter Attack was abruptly terminated after a brief hearing by former Director of the Criminal Investigation Department, Shani Abeysekera, who was illegally imprisoned on the eve of the revelation of the most serious criminals.
If the Commission is such then Mahinda and Gota are wrong first Usually a commission is appointed to look who is behind the attack but this commission has done the other side of it. The investigation has shut its mouth piece of who planned the attack but alleging those who did not prevent the attack. While that may be fair, that is not the main problem. Who are the masterminds of the attack?
According to the commission if the people fail to prevent the attack are considered as accused, the Incumbent President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and then-Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa were the first to be blamed for the failure to prevent a series of terrorist attacks, including the airstrikes on the country's capital and the military headquarters between 2005-2015. If this commission was looking into the 9/11 attacks in New York, they would be blaming George W. Bush for not preventing the attack.
Therefore, this bogus Presidential Commission ended up leaving serious doubts in the society seeking justice for the Easter attack. Among those issues, these four issues are at the forefront.
1. Who directed Saharan?
2. Who was the leader or leaders above Saharan?
3. Who provided financial and other assistance to extremists including Saharan?
4. Who gave Saharan the technical know-how to detonate a suicide bomb?
The report now in the hands of President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, which seeks justice, does not answer any of the above serious questions that we raise. There is no point in a commission that does not answer these four questions because if those questions are not answered, the danger is still looming over our heads. Instead of uncovering the above serious issues not stated in the report, the Commission has deliberately created a series of childish stories.
Opposition parties in other countries would be protesting against such incidents, but unfortunately the Opposition in our country is not taking such an active steps. Instead, they are dividing and providing jokes to the people of the country.
Former JVP MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa, instead of requesting an inquiry into the issues we are raising, has confused the country and blamed India for the Easter attack. It has also become a hot and interesting bite for the media in the midst of the Indian protests that have ignited the East Terminal. It should come as no surprise that Nalinda Jayatissa, a member of the JVP who is running on Chinese financial aid for a long time, has become a scavenger hunter who dropped his MBBS degree on a rock.
However, those who confuse this extremist attack with India's regional security and economic strategies are doing the same indirect help as the Presidential Commission did to hide the real terrorists and their masterminds.
However, those who confuse this extremist attack with India's regional security and economic strategies are indirectly helping the Presidential Commission which hiding the real terrorists and their masterminds.
Who does not know that it was a policy pursued by the Rajapaksa government to create various extremist organizations throughout the country and to support them financially since 2005 after the defeat of the LTTE in 2009, using the war with the LTTE as a pretext? The Rajapaksas' own cabinet spokesman has publicly acknowledged this.
Opposition leader Sajith as well as the leaders of the United People's Freedom Alliance, (SJB) are not concerned whatsoever about the commission's report. Sajith not becoming second to Gota is convening Gotabhaya style 'Conversation with the Village' is a time-consuming comedy-style 'Opposition Leader's Meeting' that is held all over the country, counting the spots on leopards body in the Yala Sanctuary wasting time.
Although the JVP initially made an open criticism of this, it is now childishly interpreting the topic. That is similar to how they saw the SAITM issue. The JVP's claim that India is behind the Easter attack is a great consolation to the Gotabhaya Rajapaksa government at this moment. Is it not Gotabhaya's opinion that the JVP has finally embraced in the Indian protest against the East Jetty of the Colombo Port? Who does not know that the agenda behind both Gota and JVP is not 'pleasing China'?
It is a well-known fact that India's RAW intelligence service provided Sri Lanka with the intelligence needed to thwart the series of attacks, including dates, places and times. In spite of that, before the JVP points the finger at India to please China, why does it not point the finger at the fact that Maithripala Sirisena and his gang who was then plotting with the Rajapaksas to form an illegal government, was not even interested in knowing the information?
Inspite of those informations why the JVP not pointing the finger at Maithripala Sirisena and his group which broke its jaw trying to form an illegal government with the Rajapaksas, who did not take any interest to prevent despite knowing all the information before pointing the finger at India in order to please China? Why the JVP is not questioning why Maithripala fled to Singapore knowing the attack? Why JVP is not stating that Mahinda Rajapaksa kept his mouth shut knowing this attack? Why the JVP is Why not questioning about Gotabhaya's statement that 'the security of the country has collapsed with the attack and I am coming to the presidential election to restore it'?
It must be questionable why the Mahinda Rajapaksa government created and nurtured extremists and extremist organizations, including the Saharan, with the knowledge of then Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse.
The vast majority of the people believe that the government allowed this massacre to take place after the 52-day coup was defeated
Some attribute this brutal attack to the ISIS account. It is true that ISIS cadres who are crippled now claimed responsibility for the attack two days later from elsewhere. Who does not know that ISIS has a habit of taking responsibility as soon as it hears a news that Islamic extremists have stabbed another none muslim without the knowledge of ISIS anywhere in the world? All investigations so far have confirmed that the Saharan did not receive a single penny from any Arab country or ISIS operatives.
A number of trivial arguments are being made about the Easter attack. All these stories are directly related to the crime and are a great consolation to the well-to-do criminals in the country. Delegating the responsibility for the attack to other countries, invisible hands and to international terrorist organizations is becoming a blessing in disguise for criminals of all walks of life in the country.
JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake too has demanded that the commission's report be presented to parliament. The longer time it takes to put this absurd report of this fake commission, which is tasked with concealing the real criminals, into the parliamentary agenda and taking it to a debate is a bonus time for all the remaining Easter criminals. On the other hand b debating this in the parliament could further delay and cover up these investigations and law enforcement by the government.
The situation can be understood by recalling the answers given by the Minister in charge of Public Security at the media meetings.
As a timely step, the Opposition should work with social rights activists to systematically obtain and expose important evidence revealed by the media, other than the Commission's secret evidence, and not allow the government to delay further.
The Cardinal also requested a copy of the report of the Presidential Commission. From the beginning to the end, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith’s representative represented the Commission as a Legal Adviser. Didn’t he make awareness to the cardinal about this? Before the Presidential election, the Cardinal was also raising the kind of logical questions we raise. Some of the questions he repeatedly raised before the presidential election still resonate. If he has forgetten them today we can remind him again. These are his words.
"Who fed these extremist terrorists? Who was behind these organizations? We must find them. Who directed them to do such an ugly act? What was reason to commit this crime?" We, as well as the Catholic community, have a problem how the cardinal’s aggressive words changed with the change of the government.
The Gotabhaya Rajapaksa government will be greatly comforted by the questionings, pressure, flipping pages of books and other emerging demands and speeches. Reading 20,000 pages and debating about it is a drama. It will be criticized as a "Passover drama" by a society that fights for justice. It is an unintentional protection of criminals as well as a way for more serious crimes to take place in the country than the Easter attack.
Therefore, the following issues should be taken as slogans and the people should compel the government for immediate justice.
1. Why did the Ministry of Defense create public sponsorship of extremist organizations, including Saharan, across the country and pay salaries to those organizations through public funds from 2010 – 2015? For what purpose?
2. How did the terrorists, including Saharan, get the proper technical knowledge and training to target and detonate suicide bombs?
3. Who was the armed training team behind them?
4. Who was the State Intelligence Officer who met the assailant before detonating the bomb at a lodge in Dehiwala mentioned by former IGP Pujitha Jayasundara at the commission ?Why aren't they investigated?
5. Former IGP Poojitha Jayasundara's testimony mentions a high ranking Sri Lankan security official who paid a large sum of money to the attackers on the eve of the attack, but why wasn’t he investigated? Why he wasn’t called for evidence?
6. Why did Maithripala Sirisena, who was the Commander-in-Chief with prior knowledge of the attack, suddenly visit Singapore without even appointing an Acting Defense Minister? (Former Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando told the Commission that he had went abroad knowing in advance about the attack)
7. Why did he not return to Sri Lanka soon despite the serious situation in the country? Why did former President Maithripala Sirisena not contact us over the phone or give necessary instructions after the attack?
8. Why was the then DIG of the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) Nalaka Silva who was investigating about Saharan for a long time, abruptly imprisoned on absurd charges?
9. Why did the police investigation into a plot to assassinate former President Maithripala Sirisena and current President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, created by a man named Namal Kumara, abruptly stop with the Easter attack? Why was the Indian national arrested on suspicion in connection with the incident released on the grounds that he was mentally ill?
10. Despite this, senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardena, who was then the Chief of State Intelligence, destruction vital data on the official computer and mobile phone used by him for official purposes, including foreign intelligence and specific evidence specifically received about the attack by extremists including Saharan. Why the current IGP not taking any disciplinary action regarding this?
11. Why was Saharan's wife Fatima Sadia not allowed to report any statement or evidence made to the Presidential Commission?
12. What was the reason for Pulasthani Mahendran alias Sarah Jasmine, the wife of the terrorist who attacked the Katuwapitiya church, to flee to India or disappear suddenly after the current government came to power? Who is the intelligence chief behind that?
13. If Sarah Jasmine is in India, why the government hasn't discussed it with India at diplomatic level so far to bring her back?
14. Why not ask for evidence from the Indian intelligence officer or officials who provided intelligence to Sri Lanka about this attack for six days till the last moment?
15. Why the commission did not question Lankadeepa journalist who usually cover president maithpala’s news, who made a pre hint about the easter attack in the headlines of the Lankadeepa newspaper cover President Maithripala's news
Translated by Robinhood
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by (2021-02-17 03:31:14)
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