“I instructed Zaharan Hashim’s arrest”: Fmr. President Sirisena

“I instructed Zaharan Hashim’s arrest”: Fmr. President Sirisena

“I instructed Zaharan Hashim’s arrest”: Fmr. President Sirisena

Written by Staff Writer

05 Oct, 2020 | 8:59 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): Former president Maithripala Sirisena has said that he had instructed the arrest of April 21st attacks mastermind Zaharan Hashim at the beginning of 2019.

In a testimony at the presidential commission probing the bombings on Monday, the former president cited the negligence of duties by the relevant officials as the main cause of the attacks.

He observed that this is the first instance during which a former president had given evidence before a commission that had been appointed by him.

The witness noted that this had been possible due to the 19th amendment, and that he is contended over this move.

The former president told the commission that he had prepared a defence policy with the assistance of the relevant officials including the commanders of the tri-forces under his administration.

He noted that a national reconciliation ministry had been established through the 19th amendment, and that he had been able to maintain national security by bringing it under his purview.

However, the witness said that the Prime Minister and the cabinet had only supported him during the first six months of his tenure as President.

He recalled that there were several obstacles in governing the country as a result of not receiving the fullest support of the cabinet and the Prime Minister.

The former president told investigators that it was due to this reason that a commission had been appointed to probe the central bank bond scam as well.

He added that the unwarranted intervention of non-governmental organizations had stirred up problems in the country and had paved the way communal rifts as well.

Meanwhile, the former president told the commission that he was not informed about the warnings of an attack by the former police chief who had accompanied him to the airport on April 16 last year, or when the defence secretary and the former police chief had visited him at his official residence on April 14 for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

The witness admitted that he had been shocked over the tragedy that had taken place under his administration.

He insisted that the attacks could have been prevented if he had been informed about the warnings at least through a telephone call or by any other means as well.

On a separate note, the former president charged that the National Security Council had not been able to arrive at a decision on banning the Niqab garment, due to stiff opposition raised by the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

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