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SIS requested Zaharan’s arrest in May 2018

a year ago

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  • Warned Zaharan was inciting Muslim youth to riot
  • State Minister Kanchana Wijesekera publishes ex-SIS Director’s letter
  • SJB says Zaharan fled country and his pursuer was arrested by 52-day Govt.
  BY Buddhika Samaraweera Ornamental Fish, Inland Fish, and Prawn Farming, Fishery Harbour Development, Multi Day Fishing Activities, and Fish Exports State Minister Kanchana Wijesekera has published on his social media account a letter dated 19 May 2018, which was sent to the then Law and Order Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara by former State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (SDIG) Nilantha Jayawardena, requesting the arrest of National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) Leader Mohamed Cassim Mohamed Zaharan alias Zaharan Hashim through a special police unit. The said letter, which was seen by The Morning, read that Zaharan was evading court after a clash between two groups in Kattankudy on 10 March 2017. Accordingly, SDIG Jayawardena has, in the letter, informed Madduma Bandara that it appears that it is essential to arrest Zaharan through a special police unit as he (Zaharan) was acting with the intention of inciting Muslim youths to some kind of riotous act. The letter, which was shared on social media platforms, also states that Zaharan has justified the Islamic State (IS) organisation on several occasions on social media since 18 November 2016. It further read that he has criticised the country’s Parliament, politicians, pagans, law and order, and the Judiciary. In addition, through various videos, the letter stated that Zaharan has tried to instil in his followers the idea that in order to survive in an Islamic State where the Shariah law (Islamic religious law) is enforced, one must fight with pagans. “The use of the name ‘Al Ghuraba Media Centre’, affiliated with the official media outlet of the IS ‘al Hayat Media’ for Zaharan’s media platform and his impressive publications of what is mentioned in the Quran and Hadiths (record of the traditions or sayings of Muhammad) have shown that even the young people who are not members of the NTJ were rallying around this ideology,” it stated. Meanwhile, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Parliamentarian and former Law and Order Deputy Minister Nalin Bandara Jayamaha responded to a statement made by Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Government MP Nalaka Bandara Kottegoda regarding the contents of the aforesaid letter in Parliament yesterday (24). “The date you mentioned is correct. This letter has been received on 19 May 2018. I was the Law and Order Deputy Minister at the time. After this letter was received, an open warrant was obtained to arrest him but later it was learnt that Zaharan had fled the country.” He further said that the task of arresting Zaharan was then handed over to then Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) Director DIG Nalaka de Silva and that a red warrant was also issued for Zaharan’s arrest. However, he said that after the Constitutional Crisis on 26 October 2018 (a reference to the removal of then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe by then President Maithripala Sirisena and subsequent events), and after the United National Front (UNF) re-formed the Government, the only Ministry they did not receive was that of Law and Order. “We did not get the Law and Order Ministry as it was taken over by Sirisena. Perhaps, those who were in the 52-day Government may have told Sirisena that no matter what Ministry is given, the Law and Order Ministry should not be given to us (the UNF),” he claimed. Further, Jayamaha claimed also that shortly after the said 52-day Government, DIG de Silva was removed from the TID and arrested for allegedly plotting to assassinate Sirisena and incumbent President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. “DIG de Silva was arrested as a result of a drama staged by a man named Namal Kumara. That is how Zaharan was allowed to act freely. These are the results of plans that were made by either joining hands with Sirisena or misleading him,” he alleged. On 21 April 2019, Easter Sunday, three churches (St. Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya, St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade, and Zion Church in Batticaloa) and three luxury hotels in Colombo (Cinnamon Grand Colombo, The Kingsbury Colombo, and Shangri-La Colombo) were targeted in a series of co-ordinated suicide bombings. Later that day, another two bomb explosions took place at a house in Dematagoda and the Tropical Inn Lodge in Dehiwala. A total of 269 people excluding the bombers were killed in the bombings, including about 45 foreign nationals, while at least 500 were injured. All eight of the suicide bombers in the attacks were Sri Lankan citizens associated with the NTJ founded by Zaharan, who was one of the suicide bombers at Shangri-La Colombol.