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‘Kith and kin of Easter Sunday bombers were to carry out second wave of attacks’



by Rathindra Kuruwita

State Intelligence Service (SIS) had warned the the IGP, on April 25, that family members and close relations of those who had carried out the Easter Sunday attacks would launch a second wave of attacks targeting hospitals, shopping malls, supermarkets, police stations and the Indian High Commission, former SIS Director SDIG Nilantha Jayawardena yesterday informed the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks.

Jayawardene added that those killed during the Saindamarudu safe house explosion on April 26, 2019 were some of the terrorists tasked with carrying out the second wave of terror. Earlier it was revealed before the commission that 12 National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ) members had remained in the East mount attacks in August 2019 and that they had been killed at the Saindamarudu safe house.

Jayawardena said that he had also submitted a report containing the names the remaining close associates of NTJ leader Zaharan Hashim on 24 April, 2019 to the SDIG of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID). He told the PCoI that they wanted to dismantle Zaharan’s network.

“There was no going back for those in the close circle. They would carry out a second wave of attacks. And I also sent a team of SIS officers from Colombo to the East to assist our designated officer there,” he said.

Among the group of remaining associates was Mohamed Zaharan Fazlur Rahman, who lived in Matale. Jayawardena said Rahman had sent the ISIS evidence to show that Zahran and others were adherents of ISIS.

it was only after receiving this that ISIS had claimed the responsibility for attacks, Jayawardena said.

Jayawardena also said that by April 24 they had identified 11 men and 6 women capable of launching a series of suicide attacks.

Jayawardena said that they had received information warning that militants dressed in army uniform were planning to launch the attack using vans. There were reports of possible attacks targeting five locations, including Batticaloa, and that another attack could be carried out targeting people arriving to see the devastation after the initial attacks.”

SIS had sent information to the relevant officials including the secretary to the Ministry of Defence, the Chief of National Intelligence, the IGP, as well as the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS).

Asked by members of the PCoI why the letter had been forwarded to the CDS, Jayawardene said that he had been instructed to forward the reports prepared by the SIS to the CDS at the National Security Council (NSC) meeting on 22 April, 2019.

Asked by the Additional Solicitor General, who led the evidence who had attended the NSC meeting on 22 April, 2019, Jayawardene said former President Maithripala Sirisena, Defence Secretary and Secretary to the President had been present. The witness said that he did not remember whether former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe or State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene had been present at the meeting. He further said that the then IGP Jayasundara had also attended the NSC meeting held on that day for the first time since October 2018.

Jayawardena also submitted a letter sent by the IGP, warning senior Police officials, that they had received information that some groups could attack mosques. Through that letter, the IGP had instructed the Police officials to meet the moulavis and inform them of the dangers of such an attack, Jayawardena added.



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Fake computer institutes ruin career of Odisha jobseekers



When Rajendra Sahu from the Jajpur district furnished an application for Gram Rojgar Sevak (GRS) post with a bachelor’s degree and computer proficiency certificates, little did he know that his application would be rejected on the grounds that his computer literacy certificate was not acceptable as the said institute where he obtained it is not an affiliated/recognised institute from any university/DOEACC.

The 25-year-old jobseeker had pinned high hopes on making it to the merit list as he graduated with honours obtaining 62% of marks. With the state government making computer-literacy mandatory for base level contractual jobs, he enrolled in a PGDCA course in a private institute.

Sahu was not aware of the fact that the institute is not affiliated/recognised from any university/DOEACC. He got the certificate without attending any online/offline classes or exams. He had to cough up Rs 5,000 towards the admission charges with additional Rs 1,000 towards the cost of the certificate. He paid the fees out of the hard-earned money of his father, a small-scale farmer.

Sahu committed the cardinal mistake in seeking admission in an unauthorised institute instead of pursuing the course in a government-authorised institution. Sahu is not alone to face this predicament. Like him, lakhs of other unemployed youths have been taken for a ride by such institutes mushrooming in the state. Sahu has finally realised his gaffe and is currently enrolled with an authorised institute in computer proficiency course. – Statesman/ANN

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Devotees leave thousands of kilos of plastic in Kumana



Wildlife officers, at Kumana National Park, removed about 4000 kilos of plastic waste, left behind by devotees who visited the Kebilitta Devale, Park Warden R.A.D. Samaranayaka said.Officials collected the plastic waste from a 18 km range, from the entrance to the park to Kebilitta Devale.Samaranayaka said most of the waste was biscuit wrappers.

He said that officials had collected the plastic during a special cleanup program between 8 and 10 August. Over 300 people took part in the programme.

“We were assisted by Navy officers as well as volunteers. This was a great help. Each year, we collect thousands of kilos of plastic waste following the pilgrimage,” he said.

The devotees have been making this trip for hundreds of years and that it was only in the last three decades that plastic had become a serious problem, he said.

“If we leave the plastic waste in the park, it will have a significant negative impact on the environment. Animals will also eat them and die painfully from digestive tract issues. We urge devotees to use less plastic as possible,” he said. (IN)

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Karu supports 22nd Amendment and calls on Parliament to pass it unanimously



The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution is a step forward for the future benefit of the country, Karu Jayasuriya, the Chairman of the National Movement for a Just Society, said.He said that it is the responsibility of the people’s representatives to ensure it is adopted unanimously.

“We highly appreciate the submission of the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution to the Parliament which will revoke the 20th Amendment, which paved the way for a dictatorial government by severely distorting the democratic governance traditions of Sri Lanka. We consider it as a positive step taken to update the 19th Amendment to the Constitution,” he said.

Given below are excerpts of the statement. “It also must be noted that the step to be taken on September 6 to do away with the attempts to retain a number of crucial powers of the Executive Presidency, as included in the previous draft, will be commended by all who value democracy. As the National Movement for Social Justice, we express our gratitude to the Honourable President, the Minister of Justice and the Government for standing up for such democratic reforms.

“It is our expectation that when the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution is debated, in Parliament, on September 6, all the members of Parliament will stand on the side of the people. We also hope that the amendment can be adopted unanimously, after the debate on it.

“The foremost responsibility of the people’s representatives, in this country, is to create a country where future generations can live happily by working to ensure democracy and the betterment of the people. In order to fulfil that responsibility, we must focus our attention on the political and economic reforms that must be carried out. This is why we had to fight against the 20th Amendment to the Constitution brought by the previous government and struggle to have it withdrawn. That is why we continue to advocate for social and political transformations, including economic reforms that should be carried out for the good of the country.

“At the same time, the other important point that we emphasise is that although the government is working towards admirable political changes, such as the introduction of the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, which is praised, not only by Sri Lankan’s respecting democratic values, but also the civilised world, we, as an organisation, do not agree with certain measures taken by the government through the use of Emergency powers.

We do not condone the harassment of trade union leaders and activists of the peaceful struggle who have made great sacrifices for democracy, under any circumstance. We are greatly saddened by these incidents. We are also deeply concerned about reports of what could be considered as abductions. Such events cause both national and internationally negative effects on the country. We, therefore, believe that the honourable President must pay personal attention to these matters.”

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