President appoints committee to probe Channel 4 allegations

President appoints committee to probe Channel 4 allegations

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed retired Supreme Court Justice SI Imam to head the probe committee to investigate the allegations made by a British channel on the 2019 Easter terror attacks by an Islamist extremist group that killed 270 people, including 11 Indians.

UK’s Channel 4 aired a documentary titled Sri Lanka’s Easter Bombings – Dispatches’ alleging the involvement and complicity of certain government officials, including intelligence service chief Major General Suresh Sallay, in orchestrating the 2019 Easter suicide bombings.

It called the attacks a “crafted act aimed at forcing a political change in favour of the Rajapaksa brothers- a charge denied by them. The probe committee will also have two other members, a former commander of Sri Lanka Airforce and a legal luminary, the President’s media division said.

The attacks that took place on April 21, 2019, were carried out by nine suicide bombers belonging to the local Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ) linked to ISIS. A series of devastating blasts tore through three Catholic churches in predominant Catholic areas during the Easter Sunday mass and as many luxury hotels killing nearly 270 people, including 11 Indians, and injuring over 500.

The attacks led to a significant political change in Sri Lanka. It has emerged that the then authorities had ignored prior intelligence on the attack by Indian intelligence agencies. Then President Maithripala Sirisena and the entire top police brass were ordered to pay compensation by court during a hearing of fundamental rights petitions filed by the victims’ relatives.

Wickremesinghe has also pledged to appoint a parliamentary select committee to investigate allegations levelled by a former Attorney General that the whole attack was a conspiracy and there is a mastermind behind the attacks. The two reports would then be presented in parliament for final action. (Courtesy PTI)

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