Written by Zulfick Farzan
09 Sep, 2020 | 11:00 am
Colombo (News 1st); Testifying at the PCoI Probing 21st April 2019 Attacks on Tuesday (8) Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Rauff Hakeem said, it was in February 2019 he first received information that NTJ Leader Zaharan Hashim was practicing extremist ideologies when Prof. Maithree Wickremesinghe the wife of then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe shared him a video which was surfacing on the Internet where Zaharan was preaching extremism.
The witness added during that time Prof. Maithree Wickremesinghe had asked him to check into the matter as it seemed extremely dangerous to the country.
” When I inquired into this matter from the Criminal Investigations Department the then Director of the CID Shani Abeysekara said they have deployed 50 teams to arrest Zaharan and his group,” Hakeem said.
Further in his testimony Leader of the SLMC added, an external force had aided Zaharan and his group because it was revealed several SIM cards used by the attackers were from countries such as Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.
“So in order to get these SIM cards without being noticed by the authorities there should be a powerful backing,” Hakeem said.
When Questioned by the President’s Counsel representing Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith whether there is an external force behind the attacks Hakeem said, definitely there is an outside force because in order to carry out mass murder in such a well-coordinated and sophisticated attack having only internal support is insufficient.
He further added that he cannot accurately point out the particular external force and that it is the duty of the Intelligence services to find out.
Connecting his earlier statement saying that Zaharan was not directly linked to ISIS Hakeem added, after the attacks, in public then Head of the CID SDIG Ravi Seneviratne indirectly said that he believes that this attack was not carried out by ISIS.
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