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Sunday, May 19, 2024

SL lifts ban on 5 Islamic groups proscribed under terrorism law in 2019 Easter Sunday terror attack

Sri Lanka has lifted ban on five out of 11 Islamic groups that were proscribed under the terrorism law in connection with the Easter attack more than four years ago.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Defence Minister issued an extraordinary gazette lifting the ban issued under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) by the former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. 

The ban has been issued under the section “Proscription of Extremist Organisations” under the PTA on April 13, 2021, a week before the second anniversary of the Easter Sunday attack.

The Sri Lanka President repealed the ban on the United Thawheed Jamma’ath (UTJ), Ceylon
Thawheed Jamma’ath (CTJ), Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamma’ath (SLTJ), All Ceylon Thawheed
Jamma’ath (ACTJ) and the Jamiyathul Ansaari Sunnathul Mohomadiya (JASM).

President Gotabaya had banned the organisation amid the pressure by Catholic Church and
the people demanding action against the first-ever coordinated suicide bomb attacks on April 19, 2019, at three churches and three start-class hotels in the capital Colombo. 

The attacks killed nearly 270 people, including foreigners, and injured more than 500.

Organisations banned included those linked to the main suicide bomber, who killed himself
along with eight others. They had pledged allegiance to the then ISIL leader, Abu Bakr al-
Baghdadi.

The inquiry into the attacks revealed that India’s intelligence services had alerted Sri Lankan
intelligence leaders with details on the attack more than two weeks prior to the attacks but Sri
Lankan counterparts had failed to act on them.

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court found former President Maithripala Sirisena and four other senior
defence officials guilty for their negligence to prevent the attacks. 

Former police head Pujith Jayasundera and the then Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando were indicted over the attacks but they were acquitted at the end of the trial.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)

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