24 August, 2019

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Easter Sunday Fracas: Can Hemasiri & Pujith Claim Inculpability? 

By Rusiripala Tennakoon –

Rusiripala Tennakoon

Special Enquiry Commissions, Parliamentary Select Committees, Indictments before Law Courts, all are to deal with one issue. Who is responsible? There are two main areas of concern. First, who is behind and associated with this attack? Second, did it happen due to the negligence of some?

In trying to find answers, one has to take a look at some of the recent relevant events and happenings prior to 21st April. The incident connected to the devastation of Buddha Statues in the Mawanella Police area is one specific occurrence among such that is too important to be ignored.

On 23rd and 26th December 2018, Buddha Statues in 4 different public locations in the Mawanella Police Area were damaged by an unknown group during the night. On complaints received by the Police 7 suspects were arrested. They were produced before the Mawanella Magistrate on 27th December 2018. These suspects were remanded and are still in remand custody. The investigations conducted by the Kegalle police division about this incident brought to light many alarming revelations and disclosures.

On 28th December 2018, SP Kegalle division made a written request to SSP Shani Abeysekera, Director CID, to assist the ongoing investigations conducted by them since it was suspected that these subversive acts were instigated by an International Organization to arouse communal and religious dis-harmony among the people. Therefore they went to the extent of requesting the director CID to seek the cooperation of the Interpol.

Director CID replied  by his letter dated 29/1/2019 addressed to SP, stating that it is not possible to get any assistance from the INTERPOL without specific information on the country suspected for this international coup, how and by whom such acts were committed. 

During the investigations it was revealed that two persons named Mohomed Ibrahim Sadiq Abdul Haque  and  Mohomed Ibrahim Saheed  has played a main role  in the  issue  and have escaped from the area. Police deployed special groups to arrest them. (these two suspects were arrested in a foot-wear shop at Nawalapitiya a few days after the April 21st Bomb Blast)

It was also disclosed during the investigations by Kegalle that a person named Zaharan was the main person involved in these activities and they also got information that Zaharan was living in Kattankudy area. A team of Police officers of the Kegalle Division under orders by the DIG were sent on 31/12/2018 to Kattankudy. After a few days of search operations they were unable to apprehend the suspect as he had fled from that area. The GS of Kattankudy has given a statement to the police team stating that Zaharan has left the area in 2017 and was not sighted thereafter.

On 3/1/2019, SP Kegalle Division made a written request to the IGP through the SDIG Sabaragamuwa, requesting him to make arrangements for the CID, TID or SIS to take over the investigations. In his letter he has emphasized the fact that Kegalle Division is not sufficiently equipped to conduct the investigations which require expert attention in the areas such as telephone conversations, involvements of international organizations and the need to examine bank account records of the suspects, etc.

On 7th Jan 2019, DIG Kegalle has forwarded this request to SDIG Sabaragamuwa with his own observations while endorsing the request made by the SP. Accordingly the investigations were handed over to the CID by the IGP.

In a B report submitted by IP Marasinghe of the Special Investigation unit ii of the CID, to the Mawanella Magistrate on 30th Jan 2019, he has stated inter alia;

1. The IGP has ordered that further investigations on the compliant made to Police on 26/12/2018 re the Buddha statue incident , be conducted by the CID;

2. The CID conducted a search operation in the Puttlam Police area;

3. They came to know that the two persons wanted in connection with the Mawanella incident had visited the place called Lactose Estate in  Vanathavilluwa.

4. When they searched a coconut estate and two houses in this location they detected a large stock of firearms and explosive material and chemicals used for making explosives. This place has been used as a training camp for making bombs and to engage in unlawful  activities .

5. Four suspects while being on the spot were arrested under Terrorism Prevention Act and the explosives and other items were taken into custody.

6. A large haul of Arms , chemicals  and material used to make explosives were detected after questioning the arrested suspects.

7. Detection of Bags of Urea and other material established that this  place  has been used to manufacture explosives for some terrorist activity.

8. Action was taken to detain the four suspects for investigation purposes for a period of 72 hours and thereafter detained them from 19/1/2019 for a period of 90 days under terrorism prevention act with an order from the Minister of Defense.

The report further stated that further investigations are carried on to arrest the other suspects who led this group of people, who were evading arrest. A person who was suspected for providing information to the CID about the Vanathavilluwa operations was shot in the head by an unknown gunman.

CID officer’s report stated that the investigations will be focused on how they came to possess explosives, who has provided financial assistance to the suspects, and to ascertain whether they were involved in any acts of terrorism intended to cause dis- harmony among the people backed by international support. 

CID also moved to obtain an order to prevent a person named Mohomed Cassim Zaharan, who was evading arrest, from leaving the country.

CID officers’ report clearly states that the suspects have committed offences punishable under prevention of Terrorism act .

CID officers filing another B report on 27/2/2019 have stated that ;

a) The suspects were engaged in transporting explosives,

b) They have been engaged in assembling , meeting and conducting training programs for creating  unrest and communal dis- harmony .

A further report submitted by CID to Mawanella courts state that during the course of their investigations they have ascertained that the following persons too were involved in this crime;

Rilwan

Sajid Maulavi

Milhan

By the report  submitted by the CID on 27th March 2019 , they have obtained an order from courts to prevent the following 6 persons suspected for the crimes from leaving the country.

1.Mohammadu Sarihu Adam Lebbe

2.Mohamed Anwer Mohamed Riskan

3.Mohameh RamsiMohamed Sajid   ***

4.Abdul Jabar Mohamed  Anas

5.Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed Naufer ***

6.Mohamed Shafi Mohideen Abdul Carder

*** these two names were included in a foreign intelligence report describing them as team members of a suicide attack, which was available to the SIS of the police on 8th April 2019 , before the attack.

(These two persons were arrested only on  the day of the Bomb blast ie.21st April in Dambulla while fleeing)

On 13/3/2019 the CID submits a further report to Mawanella  Police stating inter alia,

1. That foreign monies have been remitted to an account of an NGO which have been subsequently transferred to another account in the Amana Takaful which the CID suspected has been a source of funds to this group,

2. The report clearly indicates that the crimes committed by this group fall within the terrorism laws as punishable acts.

On 8th of April it is reported that a secret intelligent report by a foreign intelligence service is received by the SIS.

Report Quoted:-

As per an input Sri Lanka based Zaharan Hashim of National Thowheed Jamat and his associates are planning to carry out suicide terror attack in Sri Lanka shortly. They are planning to target some important churches. It is further learnt that they have conducted reconnaissance of the Indian High Commission of Sri Lanka and it is one of the targets for the planned attack. 

2. The input indicates that the terrorists may any of the following modes of attack.

a. Suicide attack

b. Weapon attack

c. Knife attack

d. Truck Attack

3.It is also learnt that the following are the likely team members of the planned suicide terror attack.

  1. Zaharan Hashim
  2. Jal Al Quithal
  3. Rilwan
  4. Sajid Maulavi
  5. Shahid
  6. Milhan and others

4.The input may kindly be enquired into on priority and a feed back given to us.

Strangely the names mentioned in the foreign intelligent report have been included in the reports submitted to Mawanella Courts from time to time (between  Jan and March 2019) by the CID. The reports also refer to offences categorized as terrorist activities including, Collection of explosives, chemicals, conducting of training classes to manufacture explosives, holding meetings to create disharmony, attacking religious places etc.etc. The empty acid cans and other empty cartons that were found at Vanathavilluwa camp by the CID no doubt would establish that the material has been distributed to other places.

Except the arrest of 13 suspects by Kegalle Police and the arrest of 4 persons at Vanathavlluwa by the CID team, police failed to arrest any of the leading main suspects whose names came out during the investigations long before the bomb attack.

But within a short time after the 21st April attacks all Key suspects wanted (leaving the suicide bombers) were arrested within a few days.

There are many reasons why it is important to consider the Vanathavilluwa haul as an important milestone regarding the negligence attributed to  the security forces. It is reported that top service personnel such as, a Colonel of Army Intelligence, DIG Puttlam,  ASP of the SIS, including Intelligence officers from the Navy and STF visited the scene of the detection at Vanathavilluwa on the 16th of January 2019.

The names and designations of all the senior officers who visited the scene on this day are available at the CID for perusal.

The negligent manner in which the investigations were conducted after the disclosure of explosives in Vanathavilluwa is clearly established by the fact that several months later after the 21st April bomb blast the police found a large barrel in the same premises detected on the information received from an arrested suspect. This barrel contained the two revolvers taken from the two police constables murdered while on night road block duty in Eravur.  Several other fire arms including a T 56 were also found inside this barrel.

These incidents and revelations clearly show the negligent manner in which the search operations and investigations were conducted prior to the 21st April attack.

Various other incidents and events associated with this indicate a very suspicious background.

The big question is why the IGP and the Defense secretary who were well aware of the connected involvements, activities, detections and investigations before the April 21st attack, failed to take meaningful action when they received an intelligent report from a foreign intelligent service on the 8th of April along with a SIS report. This so called intelligence in put confirmed the data and information collected previously by our CID.

The report of the SIS accompanying the foreign intelligence report too becomes highly debatable because it does not contain any references to several matters revealed and investigated following the Mawanella incident. Officials of the SIS were present at the Vanathavilluwa scene when a large quantity of fire arms, explosives and material for manufacturing bombs were detected. The CID reports filed in Mawanella courts from time to time giving details of the outcome of the investigations clearly evidence the clandestine activities that were going on. In fact all names that appeared in the intelligence report were of identified suspects reported by the CID before.

Between the 8th and 21st of April there was sufficient time for the security forces to take necessary steps to prevent the attack. If the authorities did not keep matters discreetly hushed up, they would have been able to get more information from the public to apprehend the perpetrators. What we witnessed after the 21st attack bears ample evidence to this because in a few days after the 21st the security forces were able to arrest almost all suspects involved in the secret movement acting on the information from the members of the public.  

The IGP knew the story from the beginning because he was associated with the investigations on the Mawanella incident. His marking the intelligence report ( 8th April 2019) with the SIS report to the DIGs for necessary action is a gross dereliction of his duties. 

The Defense secretary too was aware of what was going on because persons detained under 90 day periods Under DOs have to be recommended by him to the Defense Minister. He has to know the facts and be satisfied before he recommended the detention order to his Minister. 

Lives of about 300 innocent victims, huge damages to property, and the tarnishing of the country reputation, adverse effects to the travel industry etc. etc.all could have been prevented with little more attention by these two officials. Therefore they cannot be pardoned for this crime.   

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

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      Dear Rusiripala, all these days you had written like a mad fellow, but now you are talking sense. Your psychiatrist seems to have done a wonderful job to bring you around. Hope that this will last long by continuing the therapy.

  • 2
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    Rusiripala, the accountability should start from the top, that is the minister or commander in chief or the person who is responsible for national security. If it was any other country that person would have resigned taking responsibility but not in Lanka. (for that matter no leader in Lankan history has taken responsibility) Here MS is trying to offer bribe, position, wanting others to be scapegoats if not threaten with prison term. Even today in Tamil Nadu they arrested a group of men , after surveillance , who were alleged to have planned an attack. Where as in Lanka intelligence was provided for months and willfully ignored. Why only Hemasiri and Pujitha when MS himself knew and lied. Didnt he obstruct PM and keep others away from participating in security meetings ??? If you are presenting facts you should include all and not piece peal for convenience. Do not worry the truth will be revealed after PSC hearings. Why did MS/MR try blocking PSC ????, Does anyone had access to the commission report (what ever name) other than MS. Why not make it public.If you are not yet aware by now, this is how things are done in shit hole countries.

  • 3
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    Rusripala Tennakoon,
    Your focus was on who did it and was there any negligence. You looked at some of the events that happened prior to the Bomb blast and highlighted the attack on Buddhist statue but failed to look at the events that happened since May 2009 to the Muslim mosques and Muslims . You argue that two officers have to be punished but you did not mention about the power that control these two officers.

  • 0
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    The contents of my article are further confirmed by the Sunday Times article on 21 st
    There appears to be a gross negligence on the part of the sleuths .
    Whether it is due to some influence or general incompetence and lethargy has to be established

  • 1
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    Rusiripala Tennakoon considers the Easter Sunday incidents “Fracas”.
    It is much more and is another albatross round our neck. One knew this was on its way for quite a while.
    Rusiripala questions {“… Can Hemasiri & Pujith Claim Inculpability?”}
    PS: Ex-Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and suspended IGP Pujith Jayasundara
    The Rusiripala conclusion {“…..Lives of about 300 innocent victims, huge damages to property, and the tarnishing of the country reputation, adverse effects to the travel industry etc. etc.all could have been prevented with little more attention by these two officials. Therefore they cannot be pardoned for this crime”}.
    Apart from names, names and names, Rusiripala anecdotes the routine self-survival protection activities of the echelons, via memos and letters.
    .
    Rusiripala must not overlook the BBS_Buddhism effect. This sect is anti-Muslim and encourages violence.
    Needless to say that our reputation has been tarnished. The Founder/Leader of this sect Gnanasara Thera received protection and patronage from our political leaders. Gnanasara has outwitted the lot and today the very same politicians are queueing to catch HIS attention.
    The Gnanasara-wealth is increasing exponentially.

  • 0
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    The general public does not have all the specific details of events that took place in the carnage or the events leading to it. The author has taken the trouble to highlight some aspects, which are beneficial to those were not aware of these details. But the reality of the matter was that something serious was going on but did the machinery have a political leadership deal with this kind of matter effectively. Had some drastic measure taken to stop the explosion, say for instance declaration of a curfew on that fateful day, there would have been a lot of other interpretations on the safety measures taken, especially undermining those who took such decisions. The canard would be that Sri Lanka is peaceful, free country and all this fuss is made for some anti-government motive. Obviously, those who deal with this situation are extremely mindful of what can be construed as a human/fundamental right violation. It is in this context that a lot of pen-pushing took place, instead of taking drastic preventive action. While thanking profusely to His Eminence the Cardinal to douse any backlash, I still have my doubts as to whether he could have closed down the churches that day had he been informed of the threat previously as claimed without any backlash for him. Another allegation against anybody who took effective preventive action could be that he is a supporter of Herr Gottler to put the country on a war footing thus derailing any liberal policy agenda of the Government. Sri Lanka is so unfortunate that even for the Army Commanders words “too much of peace and too much of freedom” could only come out after explosions that took a heavy toll and NOT BEFORE.

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    Oh, poor us. We knew but we were helpless and could not do anything to prevent the carnage. Please stop giving stupid excuses just because you are in denial. Answer is simple. If Lanka could achieve so much (break through)post Easter, it is clear the carnage could have been easily prevented and those hundreds of people who perished will be living among us today. Preventing a mass murder cannot be that sensitive as compared to riots against Muslims and framing Shafi, post Easter. Regardless of your excuses , we still had curfews and PTA. So my advise is if you cannot help the cause it is ok , but please do not cause more harm by way of denying and giving excuses.

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    Rusiripala, looks like your only referral source is Sunday Times, which is as good as Twitter, FB and Whats Up. (I guess I overestimated you). Your content will be confirmed not by Times but by the courts, who are at present hearing Hema/Pujitha,s petition and PSC findngs.

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    Rusiripala, looks like you and few readers of CT here is already missing Sarath and Mohan who could have confirmed, anything you wanted us to believe. Read the article on AG dept Dappula and judge Lanka Jeyaratna. If it was Sarath or Mohan they could have proved there was no such Easter carnage ever took place and it was all our imagination.

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    Taking drastic step to prevent explosion ????can anything be more drastic than a explosion which killed hundreds of our own people. When taking safety measures, responsible people do not rely or depend on stupid interpretations.When I wear seat belt while driving, I do not rely or depend on what others say or think. Lanka is a peaceful and free country ??? Is it so, now we know, we are not.( for a fact , it was never a peaceful and free country ).Those who make decision are extremely mindful of human rights ??? This comment is ultimate cracker. The person was so mindful , today there are hundreds of kids without their parents. Lankans are so concerned of human rights, they visit Geneva annually , to learn more about it. We are so unfortunate that our Army commander thinks “we have too much freedom and peace”. FYI, now that PTA is back, we will will not be having it (freedom and peace) any more. You and Rusiri are not the only people here in CT, on payroll. Get a life buddy.

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