Connect with us

News

There was reason why Shangri-La was attacked twice during Easter Sunday carnage – Dayasiri

Published

on

By Rathindra Kuruwita

There was a reason why two suicide bombers had attacked the Shangri-La Hotel but the Taj Hotel had been spared, State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera, on Tuesday night, told the PCoI investigating the Easter Sunday attacks.

External powers had played a role in electing Sri Lankan Presidents and governments since 2015, Jayasekera said. The witness said it must be found out who wanted to remove former President Maithripala Sirisena from power.

The State Minister had been summoned to the PCoI to give evidence about the anti-Muslim riots in Hettipola following the Easter Sunday Attacks. On May 13, 2019, there was unrest in Hettipola, after six youth, arrested over involvement in attacking Muslim-owned properties and mosques in Kiniyama, were brought to the Hettipola Police Station from Bingiriya. When a crowd surrounded the Hettipola Police Station, Jayasekera, who lived close by arrived at the scene and took the youth back to Bingiriya Police Station after the police, civil administrators and community leaders of the area agreed that releasing the six youth on police bail was the best course of action.

Jayasekera: “This incident happened on my public day. Some people came and told me that there was unrest in the town. So I went to the Hettipola Police Station by 12 noon. The OIC told me that there were six youth sent from the Bingiriya Police Station. The OIC also said that during a meeting, it had been agreed to release them. I was told that then State Minister Nalin Bandara too had agreed to the decision. He said that they had to take the youth back to Bingiriya but it was impossible to do so because of the crowd that had gathered outside. I also felt that we needed to get these suspects out of the town. So I spoke to people, got the six people in my vehicle and went to Bingiriya with police protection.”

Chairman of the PCoI: “You are also a lawyer. Should politicians influence how people are arrested or released?”

Jayasekera: “No! I had no involvement in securing their release.”

Chairman of the PCoI: “After the attacks, you said that Taj Hotel in Colombo had not been attacked because some people were staying there. Can you elaborate on that?”

Jayasekera: “Taj is owned by a businessman that belongs to a particular country. A suicide bomber came and left without blowing himself up. There is a reason why there were two attacks on Shangri La hotel and none on Taj. There were also reports that during the time of the attacks, some VIPs were at Taj. That’s why I said that.”

The Chairman of the PCoI then asked Jayasekera why he had said that NTJ leader Zahran Hashim had international links. The witness said that it was the first time that the ‘leader’ of a terrorist group had taken part in the first wave of attacks and died.

“Why would a leader die in the first wave unless there was some good reason? Because of the attacks, President Sirisena could not seek a second term. There may have been some issues concerning Sirisena’s presidency, but he was trying his best to eliminate the drug mafia. The terrorists attacks marked the end of the country’s war on drugs. Now, former IGP, Pujith Jayasundara says the warnings of the attack came from a foreign intelligence source. So, this external intelligence agency knew when the attacks would happen. To be honest Presidents and governments have been brought into power in Sri Lanka by external powers from 2015. In a way Zahran too was a victim, Maithripala and Ranil Wickremesinghe too are victims. Jayasundara and Former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando too are victims,” Jayasekera said.

The PCoI Chairman asked Jayasekera whether the former government had remained on national security in a satisfactory manner. Jayasekera too was a Cabinet Minister in the yahapalana government between 2015 and 2018.

The witness said that there had been many disagreements within the government. Sirisena was not at all happy with cosponsoring a resolution in Geneva in 2015, he said.

“These disagreements affected national security. I wouldn’t say that national security was neglected but it surely was affected by the internal disagreements,” MP Jayasekera said.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

Pakistan Navy ship arrives in Colombo

Published

on

Pakistan Navy Ship (PNS) Taimur arrived, at the port of Colombo, on a formal visit, yesterday morning (12). The visiting ship was welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy, in compliance with naval traditions.The 134m-long ship is commanded by Captain M. Yasir Tahir and it is manned by 169 as the ship’s complement.

The Commanding Officer of PNS Taimur is scheduled to call on Commander Western Naval Area, at the Western Naval Command Headquarters, today. The ship is expected to remain in the island, until 15th August, and the crew of the ship will take part in several programmes, organized by the Sri Lanka Navy, to promote cooperation and goodwill between the two navies.

PNS Taimur is also expected to conduct a naval exercise with the Sri Lanka Navy in western seas on its departure on 15th August.

Meanwhile, PNS Tughril, an identical warship belonging to the Pakistan Navy, arrived in Sri Lanka on an official visit on 13th December 2021 and conducted a successful naval exercise with SLNS Sindurala off the western coast on 16th December. Naval exercises of this nature with regional navies will enable each partner to overcome common maritime challenges in the future, through enhanced cooperation.

Continue Reading

News

Stalin reads riot act to govt. over proposal to allow schoolchildren to work part time

Published

on

By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Alliance of Trade Unions and Mass Organisations yesterday warned that the government’s decision to allow schoolchildren, between the ages of 16 and 20, to work part time, would have disastrous consequences.Addressing the media on 11 Aug., General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers’ Union, Joseph Stalin, said that the government was planning to amend laws, allowing schoolchildren to work in the private sector for 20 hours a week.

“Now, this may look like a progressive idea. A lot of families are

struggling and if another family member can chip in, it would be a great help. I am sure a lot of children feel the same way. It is also true that there may be children who will find great jobs and horn their skills,” he said.However, these proposals have come at a time when education is in crisis and the schools are on the verge of collapse.

“During the last two and a half years, most children have learnt nothing. But children who go to elite schools are doing better. These schools have systems in place, but most others don’t. Children who do not go to tier one schools have suffered and most children who do not go to such elite schools will not find part time work that will prepare them for the jobs of the future,” he said. “It’s not easy to balance school work with vocation training, especially physically intensive work. Most people will drop out and social mobility will further stagnate. Fix the education system first and create a more level playing field,” Stalin said.

Continue Reading

News

Harsha: Will RW use Emergency to steamroller his economic reforms?

Published

on

By Saman Indrajith

SJB MP Harsha de Silva yesterday asked President Ranil Wickremesinghe whether the latter was planning to use Emergency powers to suppress the people who might oppose his economic reform agenda.

“It is being asked why the government wants to continue the State of Emergency. The anti-government protesters have gone home. There is no unrest. There are those who say that the President wants to keep the Emergency laws to carry out economic reforms. Does that mean the President will use these laws to scare people into submission if they do not accept his economic reforms? I don’t think people can be intimidated. I want the President to answer this question,” he said.

MP de Silva said that the government did not have public support and that it was obvious that the spectre of the Rajapaksas was haunting the government.

“I agree that Wickremesinghe was appointed constitutionally. We have to work within the Constitution. However, the 134 votes he received on 20 July were not realistic. They have managed to manipulate the Constitution, but the government doesn’t have the support of the people. The problem is can the government win the support of the people,” he said.The SJB lawmaker added that Sri Lanka needed to restructure its debt. However, the country had not even started the process.

“One of the consultants we hired, Lazard, says that we have to start with China because it is new to debt restructuring. But we have not done so. Not only that, we have in fact started a diplomatic issue with China. What’s the front page news today? Can this government solve this sensitive international issue? Can it carry out the necessary economic reforms?” he asked.

MP de Silva said that the government had to work with the people and that it had to be honest with them. The government needed to present a common programme on which an all party government could be established.

“In 2020, we said that the government was on the wrong path and that we needed to seek IMF assistance. The government didn’t listen. We need an all-party programme to go before the IMF and get a decent deal. Today, I present to Parliament an economic recovery plan we have prepared. When we decided to throw our weight behind SLPP MP Dullas Alahapperuma, I was entrusted with the task of making an economic plan. We have run it through experts too. I ask the MPs to look at this and suggest improvements.”

Continue Reading

Trending