Sri Lanka appoints committee to probe Channel-4’s allegations on Easter bombings

270 people, including 11 persons got killed and 500 suffered injuries in the attack

Sri Lanka Easter bombings (File) Sri Lankan Naval soldiers stand guard as authorities started clearing the debris from inside of the damaged St. Anthony's Church after it was targeted in a series of Islamic State-claimed suicide bombings that killed hundreds of people during Easter Sunday | AP

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe appointed a committee on Friday to probe allegations levelled by Channel-4 in its documentary based on Easter bomb attacks.

According to reports, Wickremesinghe has appointed a committee headed by a retired Supreme Court Justice to probe the channel’s allegations. Daily Mirror reported that committee would be headed by retired SC Justice S.I. Imam. “A committee chaired by retired Supreme Court Justice S I Imam has been appointed by President Ranil Wickremesinghe to investigate ‘Channel-4’ allegations about the Easter attacks,” Daily Mirror reported. The publication reported that retired Air Force Commander ACM Jayalath Weerakkody and Harsha A.J. Soza PC are also part of the investigation committee.

As many as 270 people, including 11 Indians got killed in the 2019 Easter terror attacks by an Islamist extremist group.

UK's Channel 4 aired a documentary titled Sri Lanka's Easter Bombings - Dispatches' alleging the involvement and complicity of certain government officials, including intelligence service chief Major General Suresh Sallay, in orchestrating the 2019 Easter suicide bombings. It called the attacks a "crafted act aimed at forcing a political change in favour of the Rajapaksa brothers”- a charge denied by them.

The attacks that took place on April 21, 2019, were carried out by nine suicide bombers belonging to the local Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ) linked to ISIS.

A series of devastating blasts tore through three Catholic churches in predominant Catholic areas during the Easter Sunday mass and as many luxury hotels killing nearly 270 people, including 11 Indians, and injuring over 500.

The attacks led to a significant political change in Sri Lanka. It has emerged that the then authorities had ignored prior intelligence on the attack by Indian intelligence agencies.

Then President Maithripala Sirisena and the entire top police brass were ordered to pay compensation by court during a hearing of fundamental rights petitions filed by the victims' relatives.

Wickremesinghe has also pledged to appoint a parliamentary select committee to investigate allegations levelled by a former Attorney General that the whole attack was a conspiracy and there is a mastermind behind the attacks. The two reports would then be presented in parliament for final action.

(With PTI inputs.)


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