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TID grills four suspects detained for spreading Zahran’s terror doctrine



By Norman Palihawadane

The Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) detained four suspects arrested, on Wednesday (March 31), for promoting extremism in connection with the Easter Sunday terror attacks and they were interrogated under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, Police Media Spokesman DIG Ajith Rohana says.

The TID arrested four suspects including the person who allegedly uploaded a video of the terror group, making a pledge with Zahran Hashim, on the Internet, hours after the Easter attack.

DIG Rohana said that two of the suspects had been arrested by the TID in Colombo.

One of the suspects in custody is a 31-year-old resident of Wellampitiya; the other is a 32-year-old resident of Thihariya.

Investigations have revealed that they created a WhatsApp group called ‘One Umma’ and propagated extremist ideologies in various ways from Qatar.

The suspects left Sri Lanka after the Easter attacks and worked in Qatar. They were later deported from Qatar on Nov 21, last year following a notice issued by the Sri Lanka Police.

The TID arrested two more persons on Wednesday (31) on charges of facilitating the conduct of extremist classes in the Muttur area in late 2018.

They are 37-year-old and 38-year-old residents of Muttur, according to the Police Spokesman.

Police investigations have revealed that Zahran Hashim’s followers indoctrinated Muslim students who had sat the GCE O/L examination in 2018.

The Police Spokesman said that the four suspects were being detained and interrogated under the PTA.

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Veteran singer and musician Professor Sanath Nandasiri passed away at the age of 81




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Overtime gravy train for public sector back



Govt. MPs make contradictory statements on state of economy

By Shamindra Ferdinando

UNP National List MP Wajira Abeywardena on Sunday (26) disclosed the issuance of a circular by the Finance Ministry to restore overtime and other payments in the public sector.

The declaration was made in Galle soon after Transport and Media Minister Bandula Gunawardane lamented that the government was short of billions of rupees to pay public sector salaries, pensions, Samurdhi payments and meet recurrent expenditure.

Minister Gunawardena and UNP National List MP Abeywardena addressed the local media after the handing over of several buses to the Galle SLTB depot.

Cabinet Spokesman Gunawardena said that the government needed as much as Rs 196 bn before the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and its projected revenue was Rs 173 bn. In addition to that Rs 500 mn was required to settle what Minister Gunawardena called bilateral debt.

Minister Gunawardane said that a part of the first tranche of USD 333 mn from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would be utilised to pay public sector salaries.

Of the USD 333 mn received so far, USD 121 had been used to pay the first installment of USD 1 bn credit line secured from India early last year, according to State Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya.

Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera in the second week of August last year revealed as much as Rs 3 bn had been paid as overtime to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) workers for several months. This disclosure was made in response to a query raised by Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella.

One of the major demands of the public sector trade unions on the warpath over the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government’s new tax formula is the restoration of overtime.

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Now, Opposition wants Finance Secy. hauled up before Privileges Committee



Prof G L Peris

Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday (27) urged Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to act speedily on the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) request to summon Finance Secretary Mahinda Siriwardena before the parliamentary Committee on Ethics and Privileges.

Addressing the media on behalf of the Freedom People’s Alliance, the former External Affairs Minister said that the Treasury Secretary had challenged the parliament by withholding funds allocated in the budget 2023 to the Election Commission thereby sabotaging the election.

Prof. Peiris said that there couldn’t be a far worse violation of parliamentary privileges than a government official undermining Parliament.

Instead of appreciating the intervention made by the Supreme Court to facilitate the delayed Local Government polls, the ruling party had sought to challenge the apex court, Prof. Peiris said, urging Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to fulfill his obligations.

Prof. Pieris said that if the government lacked funds, just one percent of USS 333 mn received from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was sufficient to conduct the election.

The ex-minister said that the IMF wouldn’t oppose the utilisation of a fraction of the first tranche of USD 2.9 bn loan facility provided over a period of four years to guarantee the constitutional rights of the Sri Lankan electorate. (SF)

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