Written by Staff Writer
23 Oct, 2019 | 9:57 pm
COLOMBO(News 1st) – The report of the Parliament Special Committee appointed to look into the April 21st attacks, was presented in Parliament today (October 23).
The report of the Parliament Special Committee which was appointed under the Chairmanship of Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri was presented in Parliament by Member of Parliament Dr Jayampathy Wickremeratna.
UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardena noted that Minister Rauff Hakeem who is a member of the Parliamentary committee accepted last week that he had met with Zaharan and other parties who were behind this attack.
He questioned how could the Parliament and the entire country accept a report presented by a group comprising such individuals? He added that he would like to know, on what basis this report is being presented in Parliament, at a time where Rauff Hakeem accepts in public that he met with these people?
Lakshman Kiriella Leader of the House responded that when the Speaker presented these names in Parliament on the 23rd of May 2019, no one objected and everyone agreed.
Rauff Hakeem, Minister of City Planning, Water Supply and Higher Education responded that he is sad to see him falsely accused of tying him with the terrorist Zaharan and his accomplices using mere photographs and videos. He added that he would show better pictures than that of those which they have.
He requested them to consider what calibre of people they have appointed and point fingers at him. He went on to note that some members of the opposition who questioned why they resigned are directing allegations at them to gain cheap political mileage.
UPFA MP Dr Bandula Gunawardana:
“In the very least, call for a debate on this report before the election. Otherwise, there is no point in this being printed. I would like to state this. You all have been hiding it. It is about a journalist named Sri Ranga.
These days, he is criticising the government. What is the result of this? In 2012, one of the driver’s of this former parliamentarian and journalist died due to a motor accident. In 2012, the AG’s Department has ordered for Sri Ranga to be arrested, claiming that he was the one who was driving the motor vehicle which had the accident.
Here you are, media freedom: The Minister in charge of media points his finger to the media saying that they are broadcasting inappropriate content. However, a journalist and former parliamentarian falling under the purview of the Minister in charge of media himself has caused this accident in 2012 and is supposed to be arrested.”
Lakshman Kiriella noted that they are prepared to call for a debate.
Meanwhile, Minister Rauff Hakeem convened a media briefing in the parliamentary complex to respond to the allegations raised against him.
“This happened in 2015. Nobody knew who Zaharan was, what he did and about his extremist ideas. I didn’t know any of that. When there is a meeting at a mosque, there are a lot of people.
Did I know that there was a group like this among these people? This might have happened to any politician. Here’s a list of associates of those who accuse me. A moulavi named Ibrahim Miflal. He is the first person who lodged a complaint against me.
Here’s a photograph of this moulavi seated with the current opposition leader. This photograph was taken recently. Following the general election in 2015, there were post-election incidents.
I went to inspect these violent acts with a group of police officers. One of our supporters, a pregnant mother was among the injured. When we visited her, Zaharan’s brother was on the bed next to her.
You can see the person here. He is MSM Ziyad. He is the Batticaloa Muslim Division Organizer of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna. Here’s his leaflet. He is the one who is taking Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Kattankudy. He is in all pictures.
In 2015, nobody knew they were terrorists. He has also taken a picture with the former Speaker. As political leaders when we visit areas, we meet various people.”
The Parliamentary Special Committee report on the April 21st attacks was presented to Parliament today (October 23).
In its 272 page report, the PSC has named the President, the Prime Minister and the State Minister of Defence along with others who have failed in taking necessary action to prevent the April 21st attacks.
Journalist: Are there any individuals named?
Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri noted that individuals had been named in the report including officials responsible for intel gathering, ministers, Prime minister and State Minister of Defence as well.
M.A. Sumanthiran stated that the president has been also named as he is the Minister of Defence and one who held the law and order portfolio under him. In addition, the Eastern Province former Governor M.L.M Hisbullah has been named.
Journalist: Who is the most culpable official in all this, I want one single person?
M. A. Sumanthiran noted that it is difficult to pinpoint where the responsibility lies, however according to the chairman the Director of SIS, IGP, the defence secretary and CNI have been named.
The committee has made recommendations with regard to 8 factors that require urgent attention.
1. Essential reforms in the security and intelligence sector
2. Establishment of an enhanced financial supervisory mechanism
3. The need to control and monitor the rise of religious extremism
4. Addressing delays with justice: Reforming the AttorneyGeneral’s Department
5. Wahabism and the need for action
6. Media reporting, fake news and other areas of concern
7. Holding politicians/ peoples’ representatives accountable
8. Reforming the educational sector to counter growing extremism.
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