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The masterminds of the Easter attack will be unmasked gradually - Chief Govt. Whip

Unmasking of real culprits responsible for the Easter Sunday carnage will take place gradually once the court processes would be underway, Chief Government Whip Highways Minister Johnston Fernando said yesterday.

Addressing the media after a meeting held at the Ministry of Highways, Minister Fernando said that the judicial process would help identify the persons who aided and abetted the terror attacks and also those who had shirked their duties putting national security in jeopardy.

“The presidential commission report has made recommendations and suggested the legal actions to be taken. Once that process is commenced the culpability of those who committed offences as well as those who deliberately omitted not to act to prevent the disaster will be made known. Some of those are in the opposition and if they think that by means of criticizing the presidential commission or trying to find holes in the report would exonerate them from their crimes, they are mistaken,” he said.

Fernando said that the main task of the Cabinet subcommittee headed by former Speaker and Minister Chamal Rajapaksa was to study in-depth the findings and recommendations contained in the PCoI report and to advise on the next course of action.

The committee also comprised ministers Udaya Gammanpila, Prasanna Ranatunga and Rohitha Abeygunawardena.

Speaking further, Minister Fernando said,

"We studied the reports on the Easter Sunday attack 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 are implementing them.

Since the day the PCoI completed its investigations the opposition members shouted and demanded that the report be released. Since the day it was released, the opposition again shouted that it be tabled in Parliament.

Since the day that has been done they are making various allegations about the process of the PCoI about the content of the report.

Yet it seems that they have forgotten who is responsible for the incident that needed to be investigated by the PCoI.

In the first place, it was their mistakes and wrongdoing that made the way for the Easter Sunday attacks and the subsequent investigations. These vociferous leaders now in the opposition were not seen when the country was in near anarchy soon after the terror attacks on Easter Sunday.

While there was no leader it was Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith who came forward and appealed to people against further violence and prevented another bloodbath in this country. The nation must be thankful to him for his brave action on that day.

I do not think that they could just escape from their wrongdoing by changing their name from the UNP to SJB and shifting from the elephant symbol to the telephone symbol.

They placed the country’s national security in jeopardy by making structural changes in the police to form special units and divisions such as FCID to suppress their political rivalries.

They were imprisoned by intelligence unit operatives. There had been five secretaries to the Ministry of Defence within a period of four years. Such was the time before the Easter Sunday attacks.

The Yahapalana government had the chance to investigate the April 21 terror attacks.

They too appointed committees including a parliamentary select committee. What were their results? Instead of finding those responsible that PSC brought before it the intelligence officials and made public information pertaining to national security further worsening the situation.

Those now accusing the PCoI of failing to identify the masterminds of the attacks were in that PSC then. Why could they not make such identifications? Did the yahapalana regime implement at least a single recommendation made by that PSC? Soon after receipt of this PCoI report the President presented it to the Cabinet and then to Parliament.

A Cabinet subcommittee was appointed to make further suggestions on implantation of the PCoI recommendations.

We have completed those tasks and now all is set for the judicial process which will unmask many wrongdoers and offenders responsible for the Easter Sunday crime,” the Minister added.

Meanwhile, the government yesterday (06) officially announced that Nawfer Moulavi who is in remand custody has been identified as the mastermind behind the Easter Sunday attacks that killed more than 270 innocent civilians on April 21, 2019.

According to Public Security Minister Dr. Sarath Weerasekera, Nawfer Moulavi who is in remand custody, has been involved in brainwashing Saharan Hashim’s team into following the Islamic State ideology.

Addressing a press conference at the Information Department yesterday, Weerasekera said Nawfer Moulavi has started propagating ideologies of the Islamic State terrorists in 2014.

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