17 October, 2019

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The President’s Men: How Three Sirisena’s Governors Were Linked To National Thowheed Jamath 

In a strange twist of events three loyalists of President Maithripala Sirisena who were recently appointed as Provincial Governors have been linked to the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) the organisation that was just banned in Sri Lanka as a terror outfit believed to have been founded by bombing mastermind Mohammed Zaharan.

The NTJ as it is now known was largely headquartered in Kattankudy in the Easter Province which was Zaharan’s hometown.

Azath Salley, Maithri Gunaratne and MLAM Hisbullah

The first time Zaharan went into hiding police investigators now believe was after he led an attack against Sufi shrines and devotees in Kattankudy in 2017. Several people were injured in the attack. Zaharan fled but police arrested several suspects. The NTJ a little known organisation somehow allegedly managed to get Maithri Guneratne now Central Province Governor to represent them in court. The link to Guneratne may also have been through the Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamath which Guneratne represented during their clashes with Bodu Bala Sena. It is unclear if during the 2017 Kattankudy clashes the NTJ had split from the SLTJ and Guneratne may have believed he was representing the same client.

Now police believe that connection was made through SLFP strongman and Eastern resident the highly conservative politician M.L.A.M. Hizbullah. Hisbullah is now the Governor of the Eastern Province.

Colombo Telegraph learns that Hisbullah regularly visited 15 mosques in Kattankudy which were known in the area to the “NTJ Mosques”. Residents believe Hisbullah was also a patron for mosques and madrasas operated by NTJ and its leader Zaharan with several of these buildings given major facelifts after an infusion of funding.

The third piece of the Governor puzzle involves Azath Salley who was recently appointed Governor of the Western Province. Salley reportedly intervened to have two boys from Mawanella released from police custody after the suspected NTJ members defaced Buddhist statues in the area leading to the arrest of seven young men. Colombo Telegraph learns that Salley intervened to release two suspects Shashid Ibrahim and Sagid Ibrahim who are the sons of a prominent Moulavi in the area. But Colombo Telegraph learns that other Muslim organisations had supported this move by Salley at the time because they believed the two were innocent since they had only provided meals for the NTJ suspects. However investigators have now linked the Mawanella incident to Zaharan and the NTJ conclusively, because many of the suspects were part of Qu’ran classes conducted by the bombing mastermind and radical preacher in the area for several months.

The coordinating secretary of Minister Kabir Hashim was shot a few months after the suspects were arrested and police now believe that shooting was carried out by NTJ members who were getting increasingly violent.

Colombo Telegraph can now reveal that all three of Sirisena’s Governors, Hisbullah, Salley and Guneratne have been questioned in connection with their involvement with the NTJ.
Despite these links President Sirisena who has engaged in the blame game and shirking his responsibility for the Easter Sunday blasts despite being Defence Minister and keeping the Police Department under him, has made no move to upbraid his Governors or hint at their dismissals.

The revelations come amid details about Industry and Commerce Minister Rishard Bathurdeen’s connections to the Yusuf Ibrahim and his family whose mansion in Dematagoda was the first link to the terrorist cell that investigators located. Media reports said some of the empty cartridges used to make the bombs were obtained from the Industrial Development Board which comes under Bathiudeen’s ministry. Last week Minister Bathiudeen’s brother was taken in for questioning by police and later released.

Ibrahim who was a wealthy spice trader from Pettah was closely linked to several prominent politicians. He is reported to have funded several political parties including the JVP which put him on the party’s national list even though he never made it to parliament. According to sources close to the Ibrahim family like many rich Muslim men Ibrahim too cherished hopes of increasing his prestige by going to parliament. He was using his vast fortune to buy his way into the legislature the sources said.

EDITOR’S NOTE

Sending an email to Colombo Telegraph after this report was published, Governor Azath Salley’s media secretary Mohommed Rasooldeen said: “The western province governor Hon Azath Salley was shocked to read your above article about the Western Province Governor Azath Salley’s intervention in releasing the two suspects who were involved in the defacing the Lord Buddha’s statues in Mawanella! the governor in a press release issued to all media, has categorically denied all these allegations and has also produced a letter from the Ministry of Defense supporting his denial!”

Western Province Governor Azath Salley has denied involvement in getting two suspects in the Mawanella incident involving NTJ members released. He has also submitted a letter signed by former Secretary of Defence dated April 25 2019 claiming that no undue influence had been used in getting the two suspects out of custody and that they were released after CID presented facts to court and found no evidence against them. However Colombo Telegraph has independently confirmed from various sources including those in Mawanella and familiar with the incident that Salley had been involved in asking for the release of the two suspects because they were the relatives of a respected Moulavi in the area. The youths were only accused of supplying food to the NTJ members during their assemblies and most of the Muslim community supported their release Colombo Telegraph learns. Several international news organisations have reported the same facts in connection with the Mawanella incident.

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Latest comments

  • 9
    12

    Dear Alls,
    Please end this debate and dear Editor close this page. Enough is Enough. You all are fighting over the Bodies of hundreds of innocent souls.May Almighty guides us in straight path and Blesses this Island and the multi
    Inhabitants nourish with love and Peace. Let we pray for our
    Lost ones .

    • 20
      7

      Ok Mr.Cassim, lets close the chapter and forget about it . Then your brethren will again do things with gay abandon. and we like fools will forget and get into long slumber.You will pray in the mosques with swords, guns and deadly weapons well stocked to slaughter us. Fantastic logic this is.

  • 10
    0

    Few months ago current governor of Eastern Province said that in a very short time, he would make his work speak for itself. Indeed! Who would have thought that his hard line religious beliefs would turn all heads towards Kaathaankudi from all corners of the world!

    Kattankudi’s Tamil meaning is Kaathaan+kudi (residence of saviours) or Kattan+kudi (Jungle people)? Perhaps Eastern governor should correct this spelling mistake (Kattankudi) before learning the actual history of our ancestors from South India!

  • 10
    5

    [Please end this debate and dear Editor close this page. Enough is Enough. You all are fighting over the Bodies of hundreds of innocent souls.May Almighty guides us in straight path and Blesses this Island and the multi
    Inhabitants nourish with love and Peace. Let we pray for our
    Lost ones .]

    Before doing that we must ensure future safety of the innocent people. Until and unless the Islamic beliefs and preaching and followings are re-written, edited, modified and made rational and logical and practical this forgetting and forgiving is irrelevant. How can anyone forget when such atrocities committed in the name of religion. Praying for the lost ones after they were being preyed upon by religious madness and we have to stop this menace for ever and find a way out.

  • 3
    6

    Ordinary people write about this carnage carried out by fanatic terrorists, but the NGOs people like Jehan, Kumar, Rajan P and also HRW are in deep slumber. Why? They are disappointed they cannot blame the Sinhala Buddhist as they usually do at the drop of a hat.

  • 0
    4

    By the target of paralysis of national integallance are by support of Muslim Terrorist-outfits not that confined to Mathripala Sirisena of President. What about other UNP’s guys of Ranil Wicks Primer, FM of
    Managal Samraweera, ex-Minister national security Sagala Ratnayake and Ruwan Wijewaradana of Deputy of Defence are key persons who behind undermine national intelligence services of Island.
    In the case of an accountability undertaken by the whole leadership-UNP …its governance.
    By blame and claim of failure of Intelligence for the President is unfair.
    Hence MS, UNP of RW, Managal Samraweers and Sagala R… has unconditionally support to Muslim Minsters of Rahid Budeen Rafu Hakem, Mujbuer Rahaman and Assad Sally by indirect support covered operation of Muslim terror attack on 12/4/19.
    The UNP mismanagement of “governances” are by foul deals of politics that back by key western Powers. The aim of WEST back for UNP, TNA, JVP, Muslim Congress and CBK alliance purely worked for destabilization of democratic Governance.
    These leading Muslim politician who are behind that Terror attack 12/4 are key players of propagandist and ideological speakers on behalf by this attack .! They make ground preparation terror attack 21/4 by many mens.

    1 The current govt. Muslim Minister and members of Parliament that including Ranil Wicks of UNP leadership has an accountability of Killed 380 Catholic prayers in different location in Island .What about 500 casualties other men women, Old people and Children….also by current responsibility ruling party of UNP.
    2 In my view that whole UNP leadership, MS, CBK, TNA and JVP are key players of current ruling alliance having an undoubtedly of that responsibility of this crime…killed 380 people by UNP grand unholy alliance.

  • 4
    2

    “Dear Alls,
    Please end this debate and dear Editor close this page. Enough is Enough. You all are fighting over the Bodies of hundreds of innocent souls.May Almighty guides us in straight path and Blesses this Island and the multi
    Inhabitants nourish with love and Peace. Let we pray for our
    Lost ones .”
    Mr. Cassim ending debates closing pages etc, will not solve this horrible despicable inhuman problem. Until and unless ALL right thinking ,serious ,pious, sensible and humane Muslim communities and individuals country wide come out in full force to denounce, name and shame the radicals in their ranks Islamaphobia will be inevitable.. Muslims (in general) for whatever reasons best known to them live in isolation from other ethno-religious groups in this country. Only Muslims will therefore ‘know’ about Islam related activities. It is evident that SOME sections of the Muslim community have been active in exposing the trend towards radicalisation within their ranks.We SALUTE them. Unfortunately a divided and inefficient Government steeped in intelligence inertia due to other vested interests – MAINLY THE RETENTION OF POWER AT ANY COST has been caught with its collective pants all the way down. We need to change this ‘SOME’ into ALL members of the Muslim Community. You need to be the watchdogs, informants and preventers of such carnage.If you collectively and conscientiously address your minds to this YOU CAN help this reeling Island nation of ours achieve zero tolerance towards Islamic terror.
    PREVENTION is the key. The precursors being INTELLIGENCE gathering and alertness on the part of ALL of us who love Sri Lanka our mother land. Muslims of Sri Lanka stand up tall and be counted. Make sensible and practical adjustments to the way you practice your faith to intergrate better with the rest of the population.

  • 1
    0

    The rumour mill is churning out a lot. CT has retracted the allegations against Azath Salley. But the commenters here have had their fill.

  • 1
    0

    This tragedy could have been prevநைnted or avoided had those responsible for the security of the state took action in time. It is said RAW the Indian intelligence outfit warned the government of the impending attack. RAW gave the names of the attackers, their cell number, their house number and street but the powers that be slept at the switch, According to former Defence Secretary he never thought the attack will be on this scale, He also said the Indian warning was a ploy to create dissension between India and Ceylon.
    Additionally, when two policemen on duty at Vavunathivu were killed on November 30th night by IS members, but the CID said the killings were carried out by remnants of LTTE. It arrested two ex-LTTE cadres and put out the news that one of them had owned up his crime.
    However, The CID knew who the real killers were, but they wanted to draw red herring in order to implicate the LTTE. To do that they got the IS hit squad to kill the two policemen!

  • 0
    0

    This tragedy could have been prevented or avoided had those responsible for the security of the state took action in time. It is said RAW the Indian intelligence outfit warned the government of the impending attack. RAW gave the names of the attackers, their cell number, their house number and street but the powers that be slept at the switch, According to former Defence Secretary he never thought the attack will be on this scale, He also said the Indian warning was a ploy to create dissension between India and Ceylon.
    Additionally, when two policemen on duty at Vavunathivu were killed on November 30th night by IS members, but the CID said the killings were carried out by remnants of LTTE. It arrested two ex-LTTE cadres and put out the news that one of them had owned up his crime.
    However, The CID knew who the real killers were, but they wanted to draw red herring in order to implicate the LTTE. To do that they got the IS hit squad to kill the two policemen!

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