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Ex-IGP: Easter carnage caused by system failure

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Everyone in power during the Easter Sunday attacks should take responsibility for failing  to prevent the incident as it was clearly a system failure, former IGP Pujith Jayasundara yesterday told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks.

Jayasundara said that the attacks could have been prevented if the Minister of Defence at that time, President Maithripala Sirisena, and the National Security Council (NSC), had acted appropriately on the information provided by the State Intelligence Service (SIS),warning of a possible terrorist attack. The SIS had received the information on 04 April 2019.

President’s Counsel Anil Silva appearing for former President Sirisena, Attorney- at-Law Upul Kumarapperuna appearing for former SDIG of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Ravi Seneviratne and former CID Director Shani Abeysekera, and Attorney- at- Law Madu Jayatilake appearing for former SIS Director SDIG Jayawardena crossexamined the witness.

Jayasundara said that when former SIS Director SDIG Nilantha Jayawardena sent him a report on 09 April 2019 warning of the attacks, he had contacted the relevant officials over the phone and informed them.  He added that he had forwarded the report to SDIG of Western Province, Nandana Munasinghe, SDIG crimes and STF M.R. Latif, DIG special protection range Priyalal Dassanayake and Director of the Terrorism Investigation Division, Waruna Jayasundara and spoken to them over the phone. Jayasundara said that he had also phoned all SDIGs in charge of provinces.

“I gave all of them specific instructions on what to do. But when investigators checked my mobile records, the details of these records were gone. President Sirisena’s brother headed Mobitel at that time. What happened to these call logs must be investigated.”

The former IGP added that SIS had tapped his phone and had deployed officers opposite his house. “Intelligence agents were monitoring my movements. They were right outside my house. I was the IGP.”

The representative of the Attorney General’s Department who led evidence also said that there were no records of the calls which, Jayasundara said, he had made to senior police officers on April 9, 2019 after receiving foreign intelligence on a possible terror attack.



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Economic crisis: 100,000 families already starving

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Govt. to provide monthly assistance package – official

By Ifham Nizam 

Plans are underway to assist an average needy family of  four with a monthly package of Rs. 15,000, a senior adviser to President Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday, adding that the move was expected to help ameliorate the plight of nearly 65,000 families.

Food Security Committee Chairman Dr. Suren Batagoda told The Island yesterday that at present some 100,000 families across the country were starving.

He said financial assistance would be provided to those families for three months. Within three months, the government would design a package in the form of food stamps, etc.

Dr. Batagoda said the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the World Bank, and state agencies would also team up to strengthen food security, focusing especially on needy pregnant mothers and pre-school children.

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GR govt. ignored Chinese lenders’ request for debt restructuring

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa government had ignored suggestions by Chinese lending institutions that Sri Lanka to restructure the debt in 2021, Prof. Samitha Hettige said yesterday.

“The Rajapaksa government started talking of debt restructuring earlier this year. The Opposition had been asking for this before,” he said.  By 2021, before the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration decided on debt restructuring, the Chinese institutions that had given Sri Lanka loans suggested that a restructuring process should start since Sri Lanka would have trouble repaying the loans, the Strategic Studies scholar said.

However, the request had gone unheeded, and if the government had started discussions then, Sri Lanka would not have been in crisis, Prof. Hettige said.

The Sri Lankan foreign policy, in the last few years, had also been misguided, Prof. Hettige said. A number of Indian and Chinese companies faced unnecessary issues by the behaviour of the government, he said.

Prof. Hettige said that the government must focus on establishing free trade ports and reducing negative lists for investments.

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SJB dissociates itself from SF’s call for protest

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By Chaminda Silva

MP Sarath Fonseka’s call for people to join anti-government protests was not a decision taken by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), party MP J.C Alawathuwala said.

The SJB believed that they had to help President Ranil Wickremesinghe stabilise the country, economically and politically, he said.

MP Alawathuwala said the President must be given some time to solve the problems faced by the people and that the SJB was holding discussions with the government to guide it on a people-friendly path.

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