Shangri-La bomber Zahran was wanted for various crimes - Senior DIG Kapila Jayasekera | Daily News


Shangri-La bomber Zahran was wanted for various crimes - Senior DIG Kapila Jayasekera

The Shangri-La bomber and National Thawheed Jamath Leader Zahran Hashim was only another suspect with a warrant like many other suspects wanted for various crimes until the Easter Sunday carnage took place, Eastern Province Senior DIG Kapila Jayasekera told the Parliament Select Committee (PSC).

The Parliament Select Committee to probe the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks chaired by Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri met at the Parliament complex yesterday.

The PSC members Rauff Hakeem and Ravi Karunanayake, MPs Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, Prof. Ashu Marasinghe, Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne, M.A. Sumanthiran and Dr Nalinda Jaytissa were present.

The Eastern Province Senior DIG admitted before the PSC that there was no special attention towards the activities of Zahran Hashim, who operated in the East, and considered him only as one among many other suspects absconding Police.

“I have 48 Police stations under my purview and there were many suspects with warrants. It was my duty to arrest them all. Since I assumed duties in August 2017, no violent act by Zahran were reported in the area. We had also not received any intelligence information that he was involved in any terrorist activity,” he told the PSC replying to back to back questions from Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka.

Fonseka observed that there had been a serious security lapse to an extent that a hard core terrorist could organize freely in the country. “There was no incident related to Zahran recently, because he was hiding since police issued a warrant in March 2017. Police had categorized him just as another suspect evading Police arrest,” he commented.

The Senior DIG also said that he was not informed of the IGP’s letter containing forewarning intelligence documents on a possible terrorist attack. PSC Head Deputy Speaker Kumarasiri observed that the DIG should have been informed of the warning as the said organization and its members operated centering Kattankudy.

It was also revealed at the PSC that the SIS chief had submitted a comprehensive report to the IGP on April 18 about the explosion of a motorcycle at Kattankudy. The report had disclosed that Zaharan and his group were getting training in Nuwara Eliya and grouping in Kattankudy.

Replying to a question by Minister Ravi Karunanayake, the Senior DIG said that he was not aware of the complaints made by the Muslim moulavis in the area on Zahran’s and his group’s activities.

“Kattankudy area operated as an isolated state within the country with palm trees and Arab style buildings. Did not you see something wrong?” asked Karunanayake. However, the Senior DIG refused to accept it and said they saw it as “development in the area”.

In the meantime, Education officials, who appeared before the PSC yesterday, admitted that there were school textbooks on Islam which recommended death sentence for those offending Islam, but said some revisions were made to the content of those books in 2015.

The said textbooks were published by the Educational Publications Department of the Education Ministry.

Education Ministry Secretary M.N.Ransinghe and Educational Publications Commissioner General Jayantha Wickramanayake appeared before the PSC.

MP Rauff Hakeem observed that there was no point in prescribing such laws in Sri Lanka where the state religion is not Islam. “This punishment of death for abandoning Islam religion is adhered in only few Islamic countries. Many of those countries too had amended those laws following the ICCPR convention,” he observed.

Commissioner Wickramanayake replied that the said prescription had been included in textbooks published in 1980s.


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