Ranil Wickremesinghe - Prime Minister of Sri Lanka

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has vowed to take stringent security measures to prevent Islamic State (IS) terrorism from raising its head again adding that the Security Forces and Police have apprehended those involved in the Easter Sunday attacks that killed 258 people.

The Prime Minister addressing a group of representatives of civil societies and trade union collective at Temple Trees appealed to the people not to support extremism or religious fanaticism.

“The Security Forces and Police have been able to apprehend everyone involved in these bomb blasts. The ones who have been apprehended are being questioned while legal proceedings will be initiated by the Attorney General,” he said. “But this doesn’t mean that this is the end of this type of terrorism. We now have to take certain counter-terrorism measures to ensure that the country will not face terrorism again.”

He added that although some unfortunate incidents occurred in Minuwangoda and Kuliyapitiya recently, normalcy has been restored in the country. “We’ve taken all necessary measures to restore law and order. We’ve been able to observe Ramazan, conduct Friday prayers, hold Sunday Mass and Vesak. Children have started schooling, so life is getting back to normal,” he said.

He told those present that the government is to present many measures in collaboration with the Muslim community such as changes in the Madrasa Education bill which will bar Sharia universities, ensuring that name boards are only in the three languages of this country.

He said the government was able to solicit the support of the Muslim community in this instance because ISIS has not elicited any form of approval from the Muslim community. We have to win your trust back and we have to do that by the measures we take in the next few weeks and the results that you see on the ground because party politics have become a dirty word today to many of our average voters,” the Prime Minister said. “So, we want all matters investigated and we’ve also appointed a Parliament Select Committee to look into all the incidents and circumstances surrounding the Easter Sundat bomb blasts.”

The Prime Minister said that when the motion was approved and the Speaker was selecting members, he made a request to the Speaker to provide an Interim Report on the allegations levelled against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen for aiding terrorists and that the Minister had refuted these statements. Therefore, this would be an ideal forum to investigate those claims. “I am sorry that members of the Pohottuwa have decided not to participate, I would urge them to rethink their decision, as we want to be as transparent as possible. This is also the first time that the Speaker after consulting with us has decided to allow the media to cover the committee proceedings,” Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said.

“The media will know the evidence that is presented, see the people who are questioned and the answers that they will give. The country itself shall see the proceedings and the committee reports. Then we can reflect on the proceedings and the actual temperament of the country,’ he said. “This itself is unique as it is for the first time we are allowing the media into our Select Committee sessions.”

(Government News Portal)