Protest in Vavuniya over Bathiudeen’s arrest

A protest had been held in front of the Vavuniya District Secretariat office yesterday (28) demanding the urgent release of All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) Leader and MP Rishad Bathuideen who was been arrested and detained over his alleged involvement in the Easter Sunday terror attacks of 2019.

In a statement issued yesterday, the ACMC said that protestors in the Vavuniya District had called for the release of Bathiudeen, as they see his arrest as being “unjust, illegal, and in pursuance of an agenda by the Government to subjugate minority communities”. 

The protestors had further claimed that although state-run intelligence agencies were aware that Bathiudeen had no proven connection to the Easter Sunday bombings, he was arrested due to ulterior political motives.

Bathiudeen and his brother, Riyaj Bathuideen, were arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act (PTA) on 24 April. Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Ajith Rohana later said that they were arrested on charges of aiding and abetting the Easter Sunday attackers.

The report by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the Easter Sunday attacks accused Bathiudeen of contacting the former Army Commander, General Mahesh Senanayake, to seek relief with regard to a suspect who was arrested in connection with the said terror attacks. It had also recommended that the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) investigate allegations of Bathiudeen providing money to a person linked to these attacks. 

Many Opposition politicians have also questioned the nature and reasons for the said arrest. 

A complaint was filed at the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) by Bathiudeen’s family on 27 April against the arrest.