PCol report - not up to Government to decide – Keheliya Rambukwella | Sunday Observer

PCol report - not up to Government to decide – Keheliya Rambukwella

7 March, 2021

Co-Cabinet Spokesman and Minister of Mass Media, Keheliya Rambukwella said neither the President nor the Government will take responsibility for the final report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) on 2019 Easter Sunday attacks.

He told the weekly Cabinet press briefing that the report has been presented on an independent basis and it is not up to the Government to decide whether that Commission report is right or wrong. Minister Rambukwella said the Government will continue its investigations via the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) if justice has not been delivered.

Stating that the PCoI was an Independent Commission, the Minister reiterated that the SLPP, the Government, the President, the Prime Minister and the Government Parliamentarians reject bearing the responsibility for the Commission report.

Gama Samaga Pilisandarak Program

The 13th phase of the Gama Samaga Pilisandarak Program was held in Weragala in the Giribawa Divisional Secretariat in the Kurunegala district yesterday (March 6), under the patronage of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The program commenced at the Maduragama playground at 10 a.m. with the participation of Ministers, State Ministers, public representatives, ministry secretaries and public officials.

The program, a brainchild of President Rajapaksa, is designed to meet the people in rural areas and understand their issues first hand to address them while considering them in policy making.

Of the 35 Grama Niladhari divisions In the Giribawa Divisional Secretariat area, Weragala is considered to be the poorest and the one with most difficulties and comprises 147 families who mostly depend on agriculture. Maduragama village is also in a similar state.

A copy of the final report of the PCoI on the Easter Sunday attacks was presented to the Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith by the Director General, Legal Affairs of the Presidential Secretariat, Hariguptha Rohanadheera at the Archbishop’s House.

Rohanadheera had presented the PCoI report to the Mahanayaka of the Malwatta Chapter Most Ven. Thibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Thera at the Malwathu Maha Viharaya in Kandy and also to the Mahanayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter, Most Ven. Warakagoda Sri Gnarathna Thera at the Asgiri Maha Viharaya in Kandy.

In addition, the final report of the PCoI has also been handed over to Aggamahapandita Most Ven.

Makulewe Wimala Mahanayake Thera of the Ramanna Nikaya and Most Ven. Gantune Assaji Thera, President of the Amarapura Sangha Council and Udarata Amarapura Nikaya acting Chief Prelate.

Chief Opposition Whip and SJB Kandy District Parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella has written to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena asking him to provide the MPs with copies of the complete report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) on Easter Sunday carnage.

Kiriella in his letter has said that the Opposition has continuously demanded the PCoI report on the Easter Sunday terror attacks and as a result only the first volume of the report was made available to the MPs.

The MPs are asking for the report to study its content for the Parliamentary debate on the issue.

He said the MPs cannot participate in a parliamentary debate successfully by reading only the first volume of a report, which contains five volumes, adding that the volumes (two to five) contain the evidential documents and accounts of testimonies given to the PCoI.

Political mileage

The Chief Government Whip Minister Johnston Fernando told a public gathering recently that the Opposition is trying to get mileage out of the PCoI report. “Those who were at home after they were given prior notice of the attack and those who created security lapses paving the way for the attack are making various statements on the Easter Sunday attacks and trying to get political mileage out of it. These statements do not matter as the Government will definitely take action against those who are responsible for the attack.”

Justice for victims

The Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said that the Church will go beyond the ‘Black Sunday’ this weekend and continue to protest until justice is meted out to the victims of the 2019 Easter Sunday bomb attacks. ‘Black Sunday’ has been announced as a day of protest against the lack of justice for all those who died and were affected by the attacks.

At a media briefing at the Archbishop’s official residence in Colombo, the Cardinal said that Church officials have declared a ‘Black Sunday’ in all Catholic churches islandwide on March 7 as the first step in the series of protests demanding justice for the attacks which killed over 260 people.

The Cardinal said that on April 21, the second anniversary of the Easter attacks, black flags would be raised in all homes across the country if proper action was not taken against the masterminds and real culprits by then.

The Cardinal clarified that the protests by the entire Catholic community and him demanding justice for the series of Easter attacks are not targeting the President, the Prime Minister or any other group of people. He said it was a protest demanding justice for the victims of the attack, the Catholic people and the future security of the country.

The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) has also decided to support the Black Sunday declared by the Archdiocese of Colombo demanding justice for the victims of the 2019 Easter Sunday terror attacks. SJB General Secretary MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara in a media release said it is regrettable that the recommendations of the Presidential Commission, which was appointed to investigate the carnage and serve justice to the victimised parties, has failed to fulfil the expectations.

Reveal masterminds

He urged the Government to reveal the real ‘masterminds’ who were responsible for the Easter Sunday carnage which claimed more than 260 lives. The Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB) also said it would support ‘Black Sunday’ declared by the Archdiocese of Colombo on March 7 to protest against the lack of justice for those killed and wounded in the Easter Sunday terror attacks of 2019.

The JJB said the Easter Sunday attacks were a tragedy that took the lives of many and caused severe injuries to hundreds. The victims and their families deserve justice for this grave crime. However, the JJB alleged, the report of PCoI into the terror attacks, which was supposed to be the provider of justice, failed to inform the public of the true masterminds behind the attack.

The final report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) into the Easter Sunday attack will be taken up for debate in Parliament on March 10. This was decided during the meeting of the Committee on Parliamentary Business chaired by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, held on Thursday (March 4).

It was decided that the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry would be taken up for debate as an adjournment motion and the debate on the Easter attacks Commission report will take place from 11.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

Debate on Report

Leader of the House, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena presented the Sinhala and English versions of the final report of the PCoI to the Parliament on February 25.

Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella called on the Speaker to hold a three-day debate on the report while Minister Gunawardena, in response, said that they had previously agreed to a debate on the report and dates will be scheduled after consulting the Speaker.

Former high-ranking politicians and officials including ex-President Maithripala Sirisena, ex-Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando, ex-IGP Pujith Jayasundara, ex-State Intelligence Service Chief Nilantha Jayawardena, former National Intelligence Service chief Sisira Mendis and many others have been charged in the PCoI report for their criminal negligence and failure to take decisive action and perform duties. The Presidential Commission has recommended the Attorney General to institute criminal proceedings against the accused.

SJB petitions Chief Justice

The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) has presented a petition to the Chief Justice seeking an investigation against the panel of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry which probed the alleged incidents of political victimisation. The SJB in its petition said certain recommendations in the final report of the Presidential Commission has suggested that the Supreme Court has overlooked its jurisdiction, stressing that this is in contempt of court.

The petition, signed by 40 SJB Parliamentarians including Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, was submitted to the Supreme Court’s office of the registrar a couple of days ago.

According to the SJB, some of the recommendations in the final report of the Presidential Commission have regarded the powers of the Supreme Court with contempt. Thereby, the SJB members have called for an investigation against the three commissioners of the panel under Article 105(3) of the Constitution.

The final reports of the two Presidential Commissions of Inquiry have been handed over to the Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena by Director General of Legal Affairs of the Presidential Secretariat, Senior Attorney Harigupta Rohanadeera.

The Cabinet of Ministers has granted its approval to table the two final reports of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry. One of the final reports submitted was the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Political victimisation of Government Officials, staff members of Government Corporations, members of the Security Forces and the members of the Police Department during the period from January 8, 2015 to November 16, 2019.

The other PCoI report was on the incidents of fraud and misappropriations which had allegedly taken place at public institutions from January 14, 2015 to December 31, 2018.

Gender equality

The female Members of Parliament have made a request in writing to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to appoint a Select Committee to look into and report to the Parliament its recommendations to ensure gender equity and equality with special emphasis on looking into gender-based discrimination and violation of women’s rights in Sri Lanka.

The request has been made by the Women Parliamentarians Caucus chaired by State Minister Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle. It has been suggested that the Committee and its Chair should be appointed by the Speaker and that the composition of the proposed Committee should consist of not more than 25 members.

The report of the Committee needs to be presented to Parliament within a year from the first meeting of the Committee and once tabled in Parliament it is expected to be referred to the Minister in charge of the subject to submit observations and steps taken governing the particulars within eight weeks of being tabled.


Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa charged that the Covid-19 vaccination is administered out of priority list order. Speaking at an event in Dedigama, Premadasa said that the Covid-19 vaccination has now become politicised. He said, “In other countries, the health sector comes first, then the security services that help the health sector, and then the elderly. With such a classification, there is a certain priority list.”

The Opposition Leader said that he will not receive the Covid-19 vaccine. “How can I jump the queue and get the vaccine? Can I wear clothes and do that? I have shame and fear. It doesn’t matter if I contract Covid-19, I’m not going to get that vaccine before the ordinary people of the country.”

SLFP to appoint management committee

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) will appoint a new management committee to the party. The decision had been taken during the meeting of party representatives chaired by SLFP Leader and former President Maithripala Sirisena on March 4.

Following the meeting, MP Shan Vijayalal de Silva told the media that the focus of the meeting was on how the said management committee will function in the future.

He said many other decisions have also been taken to strengthen the party’s restructuring program. He further stated that the SLFP expects to implement a definite program during the next year-and-a-half.