Rohitha queries why previous Govt did not probe extremist activity | Daily News

Rohitha queries why previous Govt did not probe extremist activity

What should be investigated is who prevented the investigations being carried out and prevented the arrest of Easter bomber Zaharan Hashim and his group, said Minister of Ports & Shipping Rohitha Abeygunawardena.

Joining the fourth day of the debate on the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Easter Sunday attacks in Parliament yesterday, he said former Cabinet Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe had made a statement in 2016 in Parliament that there were reports of several persons having links with the ISIS organization. “The Cabinet is a very small group and when a member makes such a statement in Parliament, as a responsible Government the previous Government should have deployed the law enforcement units to investigate this claim. Hence, now those same members of the previous regime are questioning the present Government whereas I would like to ask them why they failed to take action at the time where they could have prevented this terrible attack.”

Abeygunawardena is a member of the Special Committee appointed to study the recommendations of the report, under the leadership of Minister Chamal Rajapaksa.

“The aim of Zaharan and his group was to spread Wahabism and ISIS ideology within the country by destroying other races and creating a Muslim state. Further, the Kattankudy Police and other police divisions in the area were informed about Zaharan Hashim and their activities. But, the previous Government’s failure to take action is definitely a reason that led to this attack,” he noted.

He further questioned as to under whose instructions was the law not enforced against Zaharan Hashim? “This is what needs to be investigated. Today the same Members of the previous Government are asking why action is not taken against the masterminds behind the Easter bombers. What did they do to prevent this incident ?”

He noted that not all Muslims are terrorists or support such extremism, but the Muslim leaders had given a warning to the then government that they had assisted in bringing them into power and therefore action could not be taken against these groups.

Referring to the 2017 the Ginthota Sinhala-Muslim clashes, he said Zaharan had posted a message on his FB account that it was time to set up an Islamic State.

“Why was this not investigated by the intelligence units? Now they are blaming the intelligence units, but it was the previous government that broke the back of the intelligence units and made them inactive,” he said, adding that the entire responsibility for the Easter attacks should be taken by the members of the previous Government.

Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena said that the current Government has taken all measures to ensure a peaceful country for all races and religions to live in peace.