Wickremesinghe vows to stop Islamic State terrorism raising its head again in Lanka


PTI, May 26, 2019, 2:54 PM IST

May: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has vowed to take security measures to prevent Islamic State (IS) terrorism raising its head again in the country as he appealed people not to support extremism or religious fanaticism.

The premier after meeting with a group of representatives of civil societies and trade union collective at Temple Trees on Saturday said the security forces and police have been able to apprehend everyone involved in the Easter Sunday attacks that killed 258 people, the Colombo Page reported.

“But this doesn’t mean that this is the end of this type of terrorism. We now have to take certain measures of counterterrorism to ensure that the country will not face terrorism again,” he cautioned.

He said the government is discussing the counterterrorism measures that are being taken, with the country still on edge after the attacks on three hotels and three churches that were blamed on a local jihadi group, the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ). The Islamic State group has also claimed a role in the attacks.

“We have also had the help of the Muslim community in bringing about many changes and suggestions – Madrasa education bill not allowing sharia universities, ensuring name boards in only the three national languages,” the premier said.

Civil societies and trade union representatives inquired the prime minister on the political and institutional responsibilities which have failed to prevent the Easter Sunday attacks and also on the security situation in the country after the attacks.

The premier responded, saying the parliamentary select committee (PSC) has been appointed to investigate the issue.

He pointed out that the attacks in Sri Lanka is one instance that the ISIS did not have the support of the local Muslim community for their actions and that should be maintained.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe requested not to drive people to extremism by supporting religious fanaticism and racism.

“We must maintain it that way and not allow extremism to come in, racial and religious hatred to come in, whereby driving some people to the other side,” he said.

Christians make up 7.6 per cent and Muslims 10 per cent of mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka.

The prime minister said the government will appoint a resident committee of parliament to look into all the incidents and circumstances surrounding the Easter bomb blasts.

Wickremesinghe said a methodology will be devised preventing Islamic State (IS) terrorism to raise its head again in the country by safeguarding the law and order of the country.

He also said that the Speaker has agreed to open the proceedings through the media in order for people to gain access to the activities of the PSC.

“Today we have taken all the measure to restore law and order. We’ve been able to observe Ramadan, We’ve been able hold prayers, Sunday Mass, and Vesak Poya has been observed very, very successfully,” he said.

He said schools have started and life is getting back to normal. the security forces and police have been able to apprehend everyone involved in the attacks and detained while legal proceedings are yet to be decided by the Attorney General.

“But this doesn’t mean that this is the end of this type of terrorism. We now have to take certain measures of counterterrorism to ensure that the country will not face terrorism again,” the Premier cautioned adding that the government is discussing the counterterrorism measures that are being taken and being presented.

“We have also had the help of the Muslim community in bringing about many changes and suggestions – Madrasa education bill not allowing sharia universities, ensuring name boards in only the three national languages,” the Premier said.

He pointed out that the attacks in Sri Lanka is one instance that the ISIS did not have the support of the local Muslim community for their actions and that should be maintained.

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