State Minister of Defence: Ruwan Wijewardhana, testifying before the Parliamentary Select Committee Probing The Easter Sunday Attacks stated, although the confrontation between two groups in the Kaththankudi area was discussed in 2017 at a Security Council meeting, prior information on the Easter Sunday attacks were not available.
When the attacks took place, the subjects of Law and Order were under a different ministry.
With the onset of the attacks, the Prime Minister summoned the IGP and the Army Commander to Temple Trees. However, as none of them responded, the Prime Minister himself had to approach the Defence Ministry, to meet with the said officials.
The Minister further stated, the Premier communicated with the President – who was overseas at the time – and took steps to impose curfew.
The State Minister further stated, he got to know that certain individuals in the defence establishment were aware of the impending attacks, only after the attacks took place. He also stated, the last date on which he attended the Security Council meeting was the 7th of October 2018, and thereafter he was not invited to participate in the meetings. When the reason for this was queried from the Former Defence Secretary, he had stated, he was of the impression that the President will summon the State Defence Minister when required. The Minister added, the Security Council meetings were held at the Ministry of Defence itself, but he was not invited.
If the Kathankudi Police had conducted proper investigations into these terror groups, the terrorist attacks could have been prevented. The Mawanella OIC has also functioned in an irresponsible manner, when dealing with the incidents that transpired in the area.
The Minister added, it was only after the attacks that he got know that a detailed letter pertaining to an impending attack was circulated amongst security units by the State Intelligence Service on the 9th of April, but he was not enlightened of the same.
The State Minister pointed out, although lapses can be observed in the coordination process, no intelligence being communicated to him, is disappointing.
The Minister said, he proposed in Parliament to proscribe the National Thawheed Jammath.
Since he is the State Minister of Defence, he emphasized, the Former Defence Secretary, the IGP and the Defence units should have enlightened him, in the event of an impending threat.
The Minister noted, although there were National Security Advisors, the country had to face a catastrophic situation. The Minister also observed, the Head of National Intelligence had not been tasked with responsibilities properly.