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Korean Ambassador donates consignment of re-usable fabric masks to Acting IGP



Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, Woonjin Jeong, donated a consignment of re-usable fabric masks manufactured by a Sri Lankan social enterprise, for distribution among police personnel in appreciation of their dedication and commitment in helping to control Covid-19 in the country.

The envoy made the presentation during a meeting with Acting Inspector General of Police, C. D. Wickramaratne and a delegation of the Sri Lanka Police on October 15 at the Korean Embassy in Colombo.

It is of utmost importance that the police force remains safe, and the masks will be helpful in controlling the spread of the pandemic within police stations and its environs.

Ambassador Woonjin Jeong commended the Sri Lanka Police for their hard work in enforcing effective measures to contain Covid-19. He expressed confidence that the number of Covid-19 cases in Sri Lanka will decline due to the effective mechanism adopted by the task force.

He conveyed his gratitude to the Acting IGP for the diligent efforts especially in the present situation. The Sri Lanka Police has played a key role in combating the pandemic across the island.

The Ambassador further said: “there has been no cases of infection among the Korean community in Sri Lanka. On behalf of Korea, I would like to thank the Sri Lanka Police for ensuring the safety of Korean residents in Sri Lanka amidst the pandemic”.

He also expressed his sincere appreciation to all police teams who are dedicated to the combat Covid-19, on behalf of the people in Sri Lanka, including Korean residents.

The Ambassador assured that the Republic of Korea will stand in solidarity with Sri Lanka and work together to overcome the pandemic.

He assured that he will undertake to develop the mutually beneficial cooperation between the police authorities of the two countries.

“Korea wishes to be a beacon of hope and a true friend to Sri Lanka in times of difficulty and will help strengthen the bilateral ties to promote a healthy community”, he stressed.

Receiving the donation, Acting IGP Wickramaratne thanked the Ambassador for the gesture of goodwill to support the Sri Lanka Police.

He said the meeting is an initiative for Korea and Sri Lanka to create a mutually favourable, investor-friendly environment. It is important to ensure that the country is secure to attract more investments from Korea. It is vital for the police to coordinate with the Korean business community in order to facilitate trade and investments.

It would be beneficial for the Sri Lanka Police to deepen the relationship with its counterpart in Korea to share valuable expertise in the field of security, he added.

Senior DIG Priyantha Weerasooriya, DIGs Asanga Karawita and Ranmal L. Kodithuwakku, SSP S. M. Keerthipala and Sung Hun Lee, Country Director of KOTRA, were also present.

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Foreign force behind Easter Sunday attacks – Sirisena



By Rathindra Kuruwita

A powerful foreign country or an agency was behind the Easter Sunday bombings and the National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) leader Zaharan Hashim, former President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday told the PCoI investigating the Easter Sunday attacks.

“I also do not believe that Zaharan was the leader of that organisation. Because a leader would never have initiated a suicide attack and died during the first wave,” Sirisena said.

The former President also said that Islamic extremism had spread rapidly in the country due to the support extremists received from Muslim politicians.

Sirisena also said that the military and intelligence officials had been demoralised by harassment they suffered during the yahaalanaya administration. This was the reason why local institutions failed to uncover NTJ’s plans. “But this incident is a conspiracy because it appeared that Zaharan was being manipulated by some foreign hand,” the former President said.

The President further said that during the previous administration, UNPers had headed the Ministry of Law and Order for several years that they had significantly weakened the intelligence services. Although he had taken the Ministry of law and Order in the last stages of the yahapalana government, he had not been able to undo the damage the UNP had done in four years, the witness said.

Commissioner: “Did you know that during your tenure as President, Muslim MPs and ministers were forcible acquiring land in Vanni and Batticaloa and they were constructing Muslim villages and mosques there?”

Sirisena: “Some ministers used their political power to clear forests and cultivate lands. Some ministers were angry with me when I tried to stop them. I tried hard to control those actions. But it was difficult for me to deal with that situation. Fundamentalism rose due to the protection given by Muslim political leaders. Certain political parties are based on religion, race and language. This is disastrous. I tried to stop these people but my decisions were not implemented.”



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Bathiudeen granted bail



Former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen was released on bail by the Fort Magistrate’s Court yesterday. Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage released Bathiudeen on cash bail of Rs. 100,000 with two sureties of one million rupees each.

The Magistrate also imposed a travel ban on Bathiudeen and said that the guarantors should be his close relatives.

The Magistrate granted bail to the MP considering the risk of him contracting COVID-19 as two inmates in cells next to his had recently tested positive for coronavirus.

Bathiudeen was remanded in connection with alleged misappropriation of public funds during the last presidential election to transport voters.

The former minister has been accused of misusing 222 buses owned by the SLTB for transporting internally displaced persons from Puttalam to polling stations in Silavathurai, Mannar during the 2019 Presidential Election. Two others, Mohamed Yaseen Samsudeen and Alagarathnam Manoranjan face the same charges.

They have allegedly violated Article 82(1) of Presidential Elections Act, No. 15 of 1981 by misappropriating public funds amounting to Rs. 9.5 million.

Bathiudeen was arrested at an apartment complex at Ebenezer Place in Dehiwala in the early hours of October 19. He was then produced before the court and placed under remand custody. His bail application was also rejected by the magistrate’s court on several occasions



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Zahran supported Sirisena and SLMC at 2015 elections, Hizbullah tells PCoI



By Rathindra Kuruwita

National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ) and its leader Zahran Hashim supported Former President Maithripala Sirisena and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) at the 2015 elections, former Eastern Province Governor M.L.A.M Hizbullah, on Tuesday night, told the PCoI probing the Easter Sunday attacks.

Hizbullah was giving evidence before the PCoI for the second day.

“Zahran supported the SLMC at the 2015 general election. After the UNP-led coalition won the election, NTJ members fought with our supporters. Several people were injured during the clash, including Zahran’s brother. SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem visited Zahran’s brother at the hospital.”

The witness also submitted a footage of a demonstration opposite NTJ Headquarters in Kattankudy. It contained a speech by Zahran, who expressed his dismay after Sirisena appointed Hizbullah as a national list MP.

“In this video, Zahran clearly says he supported Maithripala Sirisena at the 2015 presidential election. Zahran also says he sent a fax to the former President, urging him not to appoint me to Parliament.”

However, it was earlier revealed that in 2015, representatives of five recognised political parties, including the UPFA and the UNP, had signed agreements with Zahran in the run-up to the 2015 general election. Representatives of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC,) Democratic Party, UNP, UPFA and National Front for Good Governance (NFGG), too, had signed agreements with Zahran in exchange for NTJ support, the Commission was told.

Hizbullah, on Monday, admitted that his party had also signed an agreement with the NTJ.

“Zahran told social media that he would support any politician who agreed to his proposals. All the parties joined him. I also went along.”

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