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Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini’s statement on Suresh Sallay: Rev.’s allegation based on SJB statements: Harin Fernando

  • Harin vows to defend him against harassment

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The recent allegation made by National Catholic Social Communication Centre Director Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando against former Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) Director and incumbent State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Suresh Sallay was made based on statements made in Parliament by various parliamentarians, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Harin Fernando stated.

Speaking to the media yesterday (4), he said the statement made by Fr. Fernando was based on statements made by fellow SJB MP Manusha Nanayakkara, himself (Harin Fernando), and National People’s Power (NPP) Leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake.

Claiming that Fr. Fernando has made the statement in question by analysing such statements made by those MPs in Parliament, MP Fernando said that if someone is to instigate violence or harassment against Fr. Fernando, they would definitely get onto the streets and protest.

“How can SIS Director Sallay ask the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to arrest a Catholic priest for making a statement based on something that has been talked about in Parliament? Sallay may have some protection from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, but I would like to remind him that the presidency is something temporary,” he added.

On 25 October, a complaint was filed at the CID by Maj. Gen. Sallay against Fr. Fernando and others who attended a recent online forum, requesting an investigation into an allegation made against him during the said forum that the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) terror group, which was behind the Easter Sunday terror attacks on 21 April 2019, was supported by the intelligence services, including him (Sallay) in his former capacity as the DMI Director.

Accordingly, the CID informed the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court last week that investigations would be initiated into the complaint, after which Colombo Chief Magistrate Buddhika Sri Ragala ordered the CID to commence the relevant investigation and inform the court of its progress.

Meanwhile, Fr. Fernando, who was scheduled to appear before the CID on Wednesday (3), had informed the CID that he would not appear before the CID as he has already filed a fundamental rights (FR) petition in the Supreme Court (SC) against imminent arrest. Fr. Fernando, on Tuesday (2), filed the FR petition in the SC seeking an order staying the CID and also Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne and any other police officer from arresting him.

CID Special Unit Officer-In-Charge (OIC) Chief Inspector of Police (CI) Lalitha Dissanayake, CID Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Rohan Premaratne, CID Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) W. Thilakaratne, IGP Wickramaratne, Maj. Gen. Sallay, Colombo Archbishop His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, and Attorney General (AG) Sanjay Rajaratnam PC have been named as the respondents in the said petition.