By Rathindra Kuruwita
An intelligence report warning that foreign SIM cards were being used to exchange messages by Easter Sunday attackers had been sent to the office of the Chief of National Intelligence (CNI,) prior to the attacks, but the report had not been handed over to former CNI Sisira Mendis, the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks was informed yesterday. Mendis said he had later learnt that SIM cards from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Nepal had been used to send messages by suicide bombers. “This report was not handed over to me,” he said. Commissioners asked the witness’ opinion on how to ensure a smooth relationship between security and intelligence institutions. Mendis said there should be a mechanism at the intelligence service level to develop and share intelligence with investigation units. He said that the State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director SDIG Nilantha Jayawardena had held extensive discussions about Islamic extremism and NTJ’s practices at the intelligence review meetings. However, SIS had only limited findings, Mendis said. Commissioners also questioned Mendis whether they could use a person who had an arrest warrant on him, as an informant. Investigators had to execute the particular arrest warrant. Earlier, it was revealed that the CID had used Army Mohideen, the physical fitness instructor of the National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ), who had an arrest warrant on him as an informant. Mendis also said that he had not received any document about arrest warrants obtained by the TID on Zahran Hashim and his associates.
Full implementation of 13A: NFF vows to torpedo Ranil’s move, asks Dinesh, Mahinda to disclose their stance
By Shamindra Ferdinando
The National Freedom Front (NFF), a constituent member of Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya (NJS), has declared that it would oppose President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s bid to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The patriotic people were ready to defeat such plans, even at the expense of their lives, the party has vowed.
The breakaway JVP faction consists of six MPs, including former minister Wimal Weerawansa. The NJS is contesting the Local Government polls, scheduled for March 09, under the ‘Helicopter’ symbol.
NFF spokesperson, MP Jayantha Samaraweera, on Monday (30), told the media that his party was ready to lead a campaign against the UNP leader’s move to do away with constitutional safeguards meant to ensure Sri Lanka’s unitary status. The Lawmaker addressed the media at the NFF main office, at Pitakotte.
Having declared his intention to fully implement the controversial constitutional amendment at the Thai Pongal celebrations, in Jaffna, on January 15, President Wickremesinghe reiterated his commitment to the Eelam project during the party leaders’ meeting at the Presidential Secretariat, the former State Minister said.
Lawmaker Samaraweera asked Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, and twice President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had flanked President Wickremesinghe, at the party leaders’ meeting, to disclose their stand on 13th Amendment.
The Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya, consisting of NFF, Democratic Left Front, Communist Party, Lanka Samasamaja Pakshaya, Pivuthuru Hela Urumaya, Vijayadharani Jathika Sabhawa, Yuthukama, Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Nidahasa Janatha Sabhawa, Jana Jaya Peramuna, Sri Lanka Mahajana Pakshaya and Nidahas Janatha Peramuna, has yet to disclose its position on this issue.
MP Samaraweera attacked the President, close on the heels of NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa, who is also the Chairman of the Uththara Lanka Sabhagaya (ULS), questioning the legitimacy of the move. Lawmaker Weerawansa addressed this issue at a meeting held at the BMICH, on January 26, to discuss ways and means to thwart the move to privatize the CEB.
The ULS consisting of seven political parties, and groups, is aligned with the NJS.
Referring to the circumstances UNP leader Wickremesinghe re-entered Parliament, through the National List, nearly a year after the last General Election, former Minister Weerawansa emphasized the President didn’t have a mandate to fully implement the 13th Amendment. How could the UNP leader abolish Sri Lanka’s unitary status, having received an opportunity to complete Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s remainder of five-year term, won at the Nov. 2019 Presidential Election.
The MP challenged their erstwhile comrades, in the JVP, to state their position on the 13th Amendment. Alleging that the JVP had been conveniently silent on the issue at hand, MP Samaraweera asked whether the current leadership would take up Wickremesinghe’s challenge.
In addition to Weerawansa and Samaraweera, Yuthukama leader Gevindu Cumaratunga, MP, has declared opposition to the President’s move, at the party leaders’ meeting.
Of the SLPP parliamentary group, retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera is the only MP to publicly oppose Wickremesinghe’s proposal.
Political sources said that the NJS, as a group contesting the forthcoming LG polls, was yet to deliberate this issue and take a stand. They said that consensus was required without further delay as the President’s proposal would be a major issue at the forthcoming election.
PHU, too, opposes land, police powers to PCs
A lawyers’ group, aligned with Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU), yesterday (31) said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe couldn’t unilaterally decide on the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
Attorneys-at-Law Pasan Gunasekera and Bhupathi Kahathuduwa, in a statement issued, explained why police and land powers, in terms of the controversial amendment, shouldn’t be granted to Provincial Councils. Abolition of current constitutional safeguard would undermine Sri Lanka’s unitary status thereby paved the way for a new conflict.
Bangladesh FM to deliver LK memorial lecture
Bangladesh Foreign Minister, Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, will deliver the Lakshman Kadirgamar memorial lecture at Block 3, Jasmine Hall, BMICH, on February 03, at 6 pm.
The LTTE assassinated the then Foreign Minister, Kadirgamar, on Aug. 12, 2005.
FM Momen will deliver the annual lecture on the invitation of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies.
Indian guru jailed for life in second rape case
Dancing couple given 10-year jail sentence in Iran
Flood-hit Auckland suffers more heavy rain
‘Dates have the highest sugar content to fight Coronavirus’
Sunday Island 27 December – Headlines
U.S. Congress to probe assets fleecing by US citizens of Sri Lankan origin
Opinion7 days ago
Simple questions to Sirisena and Gotabaya
Opinion7 days ago
Nelum Kuluna poses danger to aircraft
Features3 days ago
Implementing 13A: Some thoughts
Features7 days ago
Vibrant ties with M-E, a foreign policy priority for SL
News3 days ago
Intl scientists ask UCLA to reverse Lankan origin ecologist’s suspension
News7 days ago
Treasury blamed for missing paddy stocks worth Rs 1.3 bn
News5 days ago
No show by several parties at Ranil’s reconciliation meet
Editorial6 days ago
Heed their voice