Easter Sunday attacks : Dayasiri requests Taj Samudra probe | Sunday Observer

Easter Sunday attacks : Dayasiri requests Taj Samudra probe

14 July, 2019

After much fire and fury over the summons, finally placated by the words of Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, who patiently explained why MPs must appear before a Committee of Parliament when summoned, SLFP General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekera appeared before the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing the Easter Sunday attacks on Wednesday (July 10).

Testifying before the committee, Jayasekera urged the PSC to investigate the foreigners and local politicians who stayed at Hotel Taj Samudra on that ill-fated day, as he felt that would throw light on information leading to the attack.

He said “It is essential to investigate as to why and how Taj Samudra Hotel had been exempted by the Easter Sunday suicide bombers. Why did the suicide bomber change his mind and leave the hotel to explode himself at Dehiwala? That is the question. It was rumoured that the hotel had been exempted because there were some powerful foreigners and local politicians in the hotel at the time.”

Jayasekara was previously summoned to appear before the PSC to give evidence in relation to the Easter Sunday attacks though he did not. MP Jayasekara raising a privilege issue in Parliament on Tuesday (July 09) called upon the Speaker to clarify whether the decision to summon him before the PSC was a breach of parliamentary privileges since there were ongoing court cases over the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks. The Speaker in his response said that it is advisable for him to appear before the PSC established with the unanimous agreement of the Government and Opposition lawmakers. The Speaker further said if any Member of Parliament is summoned before a PSC, he should comply with the order, otherwise it could be deemed an insult to Parliament.

MP Rauff Hakeem questioned MP Jayasekara on his comment that there was some external force behind the attacks. Responding MP Jayasekara said that he believed Saharan was controlled by some foreign powers. At present, the agendas of various foreign countries are implemented in our country. Therefore, foreign powers with the help of certain groups attempt to create a situation to consolidate their power in our country. Zahran and his team had been made use by a foreign power which dictates its political agenda. I believe this is launched by some foreign power to destroy the incumbent Government and President.

Field Marshal MP Sarath Fonseka said it was so simple that even a child of this country knows that the Easter Sunday attacks had been carried out by the ISIS. However, MP Jayasekara countering MP Fonseka’s remarks said no political leader had stated that fact so clearly. He told MP Fonseka that he could check the Hansard while the fact remains that no politician said so categorically. They only expressed their doubts that ISIS might have carried out those attacks. “You may put this into the ISIS account but the country is not ready to accept it.”

Contradicting Dayasiri, Field Marshal Fonseka said the intelligence and security officials had stated that the ISIS carried out the attack. MP Jayasekara said if you could prove it then I may change my mind but there is no concrete evidence to that effect. They drew only inferences and guesses.“If the PSC truly wants to prevent the recurrence of such a disaster, please do not convert this into a political circus. That would not solve this problem or save the country from the terrorist threat. What is utmost is to find the truth behind this whole affair.”

Field Marshal Fonseka asked MP Jayasekara whether he didn’t recognize the PSC probe as it would not be successful according to him. Responding, MP Jayasekara said Malcom Cardinal Ranjith had to bring this issue to the notice of the Vatican as the investigations are not conducted properly. MP Fonseka said “There are two conclusions: Either the bomb at Taj Samudra did not trigger off or the suicide bomber had been given instructions not to explode himself there. Is that so? MP Jayasekara said “I am not coming to conclusions but it is you who arrive at conclusions and force them on me.”

Wednesday’s PSC comprised MPs Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa, Prof. Ashu Marasinghe, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, MPs Rauff Hakeem, M.A.Sumanthiran, Dr.Jayampathy Wickramarathne, Minister Ravi Karunanayake and Chairman/Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri.