SLFP General Secretary, Parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekara, today (3) criticized Minister Lakshman Kiriella of attempting to tarnish the image of the President by spreading false information that he was partly to be held responsible for the massacre which took place on Easter Sunday, last month.
Addressing the media in Colombo, Jayasekara accused the Government of merely wanting to heap the blame on the President as it had been unable to take timely action to prevent the tragedy. “They are merely trying to heap it on the President’s head by false and inaccurate information, solely based on a translated article appearing online. The article had been written on hearsay without sourcing information stating that President Sirisena had been made aware of the Easter Sunday attacks.”
Naming those who had been arrested by the Colombo Fort Police over the translation of the article, he further claimed that they had been on the verge of posting it to 640 temples in the country. The article alleged that President Sirisena and three of his Governors should be held responsible for the Easter Sunday carnage. The issue had come up in Parliament last week when Minister Kiriella had stated that certain MPs had received information regarding last month’s terrorist attacks.
Jayasekara said that if that had been the case it was the duty of those MPs to inform the President of their intelligence. “One cannot expect the Chief of Intelligence, Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police, Nilantha Jayawardena to call on the President as and when he had important information of this nature. There is a protocol which Minister Kiriella as the Chief Government whip was not aware of. Keeping in line with this, he had informed his immediate superior the Defence Secretary and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pujith Jayasundara.”
He alleged that the Government was bent on defaming the President as he had been in the process of a successful battle against the drug mafia. “Many temples were also happy with the President’s efforts to battle the drug menace.” He said that narcotics, weapons and illicit liquor were inter-connected. Within that, was an effort to assassinate President Sirisena as well, he alleged.
Jayasekara noted that the President had taken over the Defence portfolio only four months prior to the attacks. Earlier, it was under Ministers John Amaratunga, Tilak Marapana, Sagala Ratnayake and Ranjith Maddumabandara. Therefore they would have been aware of a possible attack much earlier, he further claimed.
He said that Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe had claimed that he had not been called for the National Security Council. However, how can the President be sure that the Council discussions would not be publicised if the Minister attempting to defame and level false accusations belonged to the same Government headed by the Premier, he queried.
Responding to questions, Jayasekara said that his Party too had reservations regarding the manner in which certain suspects taken into custody regarding possessing weapons were being released. He alleged that in certain Police stations, the suspects were produced before the Acting Magistrate and had been released on bail as a result. He said that the vehement protests of the Archbishop of Colombo and the Buddhist Clergy were understandable in this regard.
The Ministry of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs should collaborate with the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama to request assistance from the Ministry of National Integration, to stop non-Governmental organisations funding the National Thowheed Jama’ath mosques, he also claimed.
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