Once legal action on 21/4 gets underway: Culprits Will Be Unmasked – Johnston
By Buddhika Samaraweera
Unmasking of culprits responsible for the Easter Sunday bombings on 21 April 2019 will take place gradually once Court processes are underway, Minister of Highways Johnston Fernando said.
Adding the judicial process would help identify the individuals who aided and abetted the bombings and also those who had shirked their duties putting national security in jeopardy, Fernando said “The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) report has recommended that legal actions be taken. Once that process is commenced the culpability of those who committed offences as well as those who deliberately omitted duties and responsibility will be made known,”
Speaking during a meeting at the Ministry recently, he also said “If someone thinks that criticising the PCoI or trying to find errors in the report would exonerate them from their crimes, they are mistaken,”
Fernando, who is also a member of the Cabinet Sub Committee appointed to look into the PCoI’s final report on the Easter Sunday bombings, said the Committee’s main task was to study in-depth the findings and recommendations contained in the report and advise on the next course of action. “We studied the report at length, and have identified 78 recommendations. We thereafter submitted a report to the President outlining how those recommendations are to be implemented and which agencies should implement them,” He added.
Speaking further, he said “Since the day the PCoI completed hearings, Opposition members shouted and demanded that the report be released. Once the report was released , they again shouted that it be tabled in Parliament. When it was tabled in Parliament, they are making various allegations about the process of the PCoI and the content of the report. Yet, it seems that they have forgotten who is responsible for the incident that needed PCoI investigation. In the first place, it was their mistakes and wrongdoing that made way for the Easter Sunday attacks and the subsequent investigations,”
He also said it was the Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith who came forward and appealed to the people against further violence, and prevented another bloodbath following the bombings. Adding the nation must be thankful to the Cardinal for his brave action on that day, Fernando said the Opposition cannot escape from their mistakes by changing their name from the UNP to SJB. “They jeopardised the country’s national security by making structural changes in the Police to form special units and divisions such as FCID to suppress political rivals. There had been five secretaries to the Ministry of Defence within a period of four years,” he also said.
Adding that the previous Government has also appointed several Committees to investigate the bombings, Fernando asked why recommendations made by the Parliamentary Select Committee weren’t implemented during their tenure.