Rajitha tenders apology on behalf of Govt. | Daily News

Rajitha tenders apology on behalf of Govt.

Security Council failed to respond to Prime Minister

Considering the magnitude of the Easter Sunday terrorist attack, the Inspector General of Police should have stepped down by now, Health and Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Minister Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday.

“If he would not, the Cabinet will request President Maithripala Sirisena to take necessary action as the subject minister and appoint a new IGP.” Minister Senaratne furthered.

Minister Senaratne made these observations at a press brief held at Temple Trees yesterday to express the government’s condolences to the victims of the Easter Sunday attack. Around twenty government ministers and MPs participated in the press conference. Among them were Minsters Gayantha Karunatilake, John Amaratunga, Daya Gamage, Kabir Hasheem, Rauf Hakeem, Rishard Bathiudeen, Mano Ganesan, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Ranjith Maddumabandara and Sajith Premadasa.

“The entire country is saddened of this unexpected tragedy that took place yesterday. We as a responsible government are not going to disclaim or evade from the responsibility of the situation.” Dr. Senaratne furthered. Minister Rajitha Senaratne also confirmed that the Easter Sunday attacks were carried out by a local extremist group called National Thowheeth Jama’ath. He also pointed out of possible foreign links to this terrorist group and attacks.

We are now investigating international links, how did they produce suicide bombers, how did they get explosives, Minister Senaratne further pointed out.

Explaining the situation prior to the Easter Sunday attack, Dr. Senaratne admitted that the International Intelligence Services have informed on April 4 of an eminent terrorist attack in the country. “They have warned of suicide bomb attack. In those intelligence reports they have informed that the targets are Christian and Catholic Churches and also the tourist hotels. On April 9, the Defense Ministry has informed this situation to the Inspector General of Police and they have even mentioned the names of the suspected terrorists. They have given out a list of names of these terrorists including Zahran Hashim, Jalal Ithal, Shahid, Rilwan, Maulawi and Milhan.” Minister Senaratne said.

“And on April 11, there has been a circular issued by the DIG of the Special Security Division sending to all the security institutions of the country and VIP security divisions cautioning about a possible attack and they have given a detailed report about what is going to happen. So finally it has happened and we all witnessed that. With all the warnings, with all the details given, it had happened and nearly 300 people have died and more than 500 people have been injured. We are very sorry as a government and want to apologize from the people and other affected parties about this incident.” Minister Senaratne said. The Minister stressed that he is explaining the complexities not with the intention of disclaiming the responsibility of the government with regards to the incident but because it is important that everyone get the details correct.

According to Dr. Senaratne, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has not been briefed by any responsible parties with regards the imminent terrorist threat. “The Prime Minister had also seen this circular only after the incident has taken place. Following the October 26th incident, PM and State Minister of Defense have not been summoned to the Security Council meetings. The circular to the security division has not been copied to Prime Minister’s security division. So his security officers did not receive these warnings as well. He was completely kept in the dark.” Minister Senaratne explained.

Minister Senaratne pointed out that the Security Council did not immediately respond to the summons of the Prime Minister even after the explosions. “This is the first time in the history that we heard Security Council refusing a request of the Prime Minister of this country. This PM is not someone who is just appointed by the President, but a PM who is elected under the 19th amendment. Since the Security Council refused to meet him, PM went to meet the Security Council at the Defense Ministry on his own. PM was kept out of the SC meeting for about 20 minutes. He waited at State Minister’s room until he was allowed in. Then he chaired the SC meeting and gave necessary instructions.”

Dr. Senaratne also said that the Security Council did not respond to the Cabinet’s request for a meeting as well. “President came to the country this morning and summoned both Prime Minister and State Minister of Defense to the SC meeting for the first time since the October 26 incident. They attended without any conditions.” he further said.

President, Prime Minister and the Cabinet must get together and face this terrorism threat in the country with a unified political leadership to overcome this situation, Minister Senaratne stressed.

“Some people think we need a tough dictator in the country, but that is not the answer. Terrorism thrived even under heavy security. Terrorism only needs a second to succeed. Nobody can say if they were there, this would not have happened. Without any political differences we should get together to eradicate terrorism in the country.” he added.

Asked if an Acting Defense Minister was appointed when the Defense Minister left the country, Minister Senaratne said there was no such appointment done.


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