Easter Sunday PSC urged to question its member, Hakeem on discussion with Zahran
Posted on October 21st, 2019

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

Attorney-at-law Maj. (retd) Ajith Prasanna, yesterday, urged the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) which probed the Easter Sunday carnage, Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri, MP, not to release his report until SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem appeared before the PSC.

Addressing the media, at Dr. N. M. Perera Centre, the former UPFA Southern Provincial Council member pointed out that Minister Hakeem, as a member of Kumarasiri’s PSC, owed the outfit as well as the public an explanation as to the revelation that he met Easter Sunday bombing mastermind Zahran Hashim in Kattankudy, in 2015, to discuss allocation of some National List seats.  The allegation was made by a Moulavi, who complained to Police Headquarters about Hakeem’s links to Zaharan.

Ajith Prasanna addressed the media in his capacity as the convenor of the Mawbima Wenuven Ranaviruwo (War Heroes for Motherland) – one of the groups backing wartime Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s candidature at the Nov. 2019 presidential election.

Ajith Prasanna said that the PSC shouldn’t release its report without an explanation from Minister Hakeem.

Pointing out that the PSC had gone to the extent of recording a statement from President Maithripala Sirisena on the issue, Maj. Ajith Prasanna insisted Minister Hakeem be similarly summoned. “The report can be delayed by a few days to accommodate Minister Hakeem’s statement,” the lawyer said.

Referring to a statement made by Minister Hakeem at a rally held in support of New Democratic Front (DNF) presidential candidate over the weekend, Ajith Prasanna emphasised the urgent need to ascertain why the SLMC leader had met Zahran Hashim. Although Minister Hakeem said his meeting Zahran Hashim had been videoed soon after the last parliamentary election, the PSC should inquire into the possibility of subsequent meetings.

Ajith Prasanna, formerly of the Sixth Battalion of the Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment (6 SLSR) had to give up front-line duties after being injured in fighting at Atchuveli in the Jaffna peninsula on October 1, 1995.

Lawyer Ajith Prasanna said that Zahran Hashim hadplayed a significant role in Kattankudy politics at the last presidential and parliamentary polls in 2015. Referring to a media conference given by the NFGG (National Front for Good Governance) leader Abdul Rahuman in late May 2019, Maj. Ajith Prasanna said that Rahuman had admitted that political parties contesting the Batticaloa district at the 2015 parliamentary poll met Zahran Hashim at the latter’s Kattankudy office. “Wouldn’t it be necessary to identify who met Zahran Hashim on behalf of the SLMC?” Maj. Ajith Prasanna asked.

Rahuman held the media briefing at the Mandarina Hotel on Galle road.

Maj. Ajith Prasanna said that a comprehensive inquiry was required to ascertain the links between Zahran Hashim and registered political parties as well as other political outfits.

Rahuman contested the Batticaloa district on the SLMC ticket in keeping with a tripartite agreement among the UNP, SLMC and the NFGG.

Responding to another query, Maj. Ajith Prasanna pointed out that though the media reported that the then Eastern Province Governor M.L.A.M. Hizbullah had had a clandestine meeting with a group of Saudi nationals in the immediate aftermath of the Easter Sunday carnage, the PSC never bothered to question him on that issue.

The PSC consisted of Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka (UNP National List), Ravi Karunanayake (UNP), Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne (UNP National List), Ashu Marasinghe (UNP National List), Dr. Rajitha Senaratne (UNP), M.A. Sumanthiran (TNA) and Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa (JVP).

Dr. Senaratne was brought in after UNP MP Dr. Kavinda Jayawardena declined to participate in the PSC process.

Attorney-at-law Ajith Prasanna said that the ongoing police investigations into the Easter Sunday carnage had taken a new turn with the revelation of the SLMC leader’s powpow with Zahran. The former PC member pointed out that President Sirisena had, on 21 Sep., appointed a Presidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate Easter Sunday attacks.

The Gazette Extraordinary notification issued on Sept 20, 2019 said that the five-member Commission, chaired by Court of Appeal Justice Janak de Silva, would comprise CA Judge Nissanka Bandula Karunarathna, CA Judge (retd) Nihal Sunil Rajapaksa, High Court Judge (retd) Atapattu Liyanage Bandula Kumara Atapattu, and W. M. M. Adikari Retired Ministry Secretary.

Maj. Ajith Prasanna said that the bottomline was that the PSC had lost its credibility due to the father of two of Zahran’s accomplice had been the JVP’s National List at the last parliamentary polls.

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