President sees link between drugs trade and Easter bombings | Daily News

President sees link between drugs trade and Easter bombings

* Smooth anti-drugs operation shattered by the incident
* Rs.50 bn worth of drugs circulating in the country

Addressing the concluding event of the National Drug Prevention Week at the Sugathadasa Stadium yesterday, President Maithripala Sirisena said drug traffickers could be behind the Easter Sunday bomb attacks.

“The anti narcotics drive was smoothly functioning with the support of all sections of society including the Maha Sangha, Security Forces, Police, people and school children. But all that work was shattered by the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks. According to my knowledge drug racketeers could be behind the attacks,” the President said.

President Sirisena pointed out that terrorism has connections with global drug trafficking.”During the 30-year war in the country, the LTTE leader also had strong connections with drug dealers,” he said.

Explaining the magnitude of illicit funds generated by drug trafficking the President said the value of the stock of narcotics circulating in the country each year is over Rs.50 billion. “There are over 300,000 illicit drug users in the country. In Sri Lanka around 60 percent of the inmates in prisons are for the drug-related cases. This includes a large number of females as well,” he explained.

The President said that those who oppose the death penalty for drug traffickers now did not do anything to control the drug menace.

President Sirisena said various individuals from the government, opposition and the NGO’s are now criticizing his decision to implement death penalty.

He also questioned the Opposition as what they did to eradicate the drug menace when in power.

“The head of the previous government oppose the Cabinet proposal made by me as the then Health Minister to ban smoking in public saying it would affect the tourism industry,” the Presient said.

He also said that he spoke with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres over the phone and briefed him on the reasons behind the implementation of the death penalty recently.

The President responding to international organisations which have threatened to cut off the relief given to Sri Lanka said: “We need their help and support but, they cannot cross the boundaries of the independence of our country.”

“The decision on implementing capital punishment on drug offenders was not mine. It was the courts, which decided it. I signed it to give a message to the entire society.

There are over 300, 000 illicit drug users in the country”, he added.

However, he said the drug prevention campaign has achieved some successes while facing numerous difficulties and challenges.

The national survey report jointly compiled by the Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention, the Dangerous Drug Control Board and, the Sri Lanka Police on the ‘The Spread of Drug Usage’ was presented to the President on this occasion.

The‘National Drug Prevention Week’ programme was implemented from June 23-30 island-wide in parallel with the ‘International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking,’ which fell on June 26.

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