Ex-Senior DIG on why people were afraid to complain against extremists

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A former Senior DIG in charge of the Eastern Province blamed several Muslim Politicians of previous governments for obstructing justice, when he attempted to crackdown on budding extremism in the region.

As he gave evidence before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the Easter Sunday spate of terror, the commission heard that the Eastern Province took more of an Arabic flavour, largely thanks to Former Eastern Governor M.L.A.M. Hizbullah.

Giving evidence before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry, former Senior DIG in charge of the Eastern Province Edison Gunathilaka told that certain Muslim groups in the Eastern Province armed themselves with weapons and developed a tendency towards proliferating Islamic terrorism and later they even resorted to heists.

Furthermore, people were afraid to make complaints against them with the security units owing to the power wielded by M. L. A. M. Hizbullah.

The former Senior DIG added that Hizbullah initiated removal of the middle section of roads in the Eastern Province to plant Palm trees in its place and during that time construction of mosques and women wearing black-colored Abayas increased.

The witness went on to say that 18 Muslim groups which were active within the Eastern Province and their conduct was consistent with extremist ideologies.

Further these groups had also perpetrated heists, extortions, and murder in the Eastern Province.

The Commission then asked the former Senior DIG as to how these factions procured arms. He responded that weapons were procured from members of TMVP and Karuna’s factions after securing funding from Basheer Segu Dawood.

He noted that there was a rise in Jihadi organizations within the Eastern Province following the conclusion of the war.

Further, they had disregarded law and adopted practices such as refraining from wearing helmets when riding motorcycles and attacking Police in groups.

The witness said that he was not given the chance to take stern action against them despite his efforts to do so.

He added the former IGP Mahinda Balasuriya notified him stay clear of taking weapons into custody for reasons such as the elections and Hizbullah provided weapons to extremist organizations.

When the Senior State Counsel asked the witness whether Islamic extremism is still being proliferated the former Senior DIG replied that extremist threats aren’t over and that Atalugama is the closest possible reason.

He said that extremist ideologies has become a factor in Muslim women, who never used to venture outdoors to take part in attacks, now doing so.

Meanwhile, the Presidential Commission of Inquiry also heard from the former Secretary to the Ministry of Law and Order that Security Council meeting which were initially held with great frequency under the government of Good Governance were ultimate neglected.

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