NTJ carrying out extremist activities in SP – DIG Silva
By Buddhika Samaraweera
Extremist groups linked to certain organisations such as the National Tawheed Jama’ath (NTJ) were carrying out extremist activities in the Southern Province (SP) at present, said Senior DIG in charge of the Southern Province, Rohan Jayampathi Silva.
He was testifying yesterday (30) before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the bombings on Easter Sunday, 21 April 2019.
He said several individuals from the Southern Province who are suspected to have participated in a training camp run by NTJ Leader Zahran Hashim in Hambantota were already in Police custody. He also said certain groups have been reported to be carrying out extremist activities in Galle, Matara, and Hambantota. He said, just last week a Trincomalee resident who was found behaving in a suspicious manner near a mosque in Matara was nabbed.
DIG Silva said that there is a high incidence of extremist clashes in areas such as Gintota and Mahamodara in the Galle District, adding that such incidents were constantly being monitored. I discuss such matters with Government officials and Intelligence officials every month and give the necessary advice, he added.
When members of the Commission inquired about measures taken to obtain information on such extremist activities, the witness said they were working in close contact with the Muslim community to obtain such information.
DIG Silva has also served as Head of the Presidential Security Division in 2019. He said the Security Division of former President Maithripala Sirisena was not aware of the bombings on Easter Sunday until it occurred.
Members of the Commission then queried whether the then Director of the State Intelligence Service, Nilantha Jayawardena, had informed him of a possible attack. In response, DIG Silva said that he had not received any such information and added that he should have been made aware of such a serious matter.