International Probe: Sri Lankan president rejects international probe into Easter bombings, slams West for its double standards

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan president Ranil Wickremesinghe has ruled out having an international-aided independent probe into the 2019 Easter bombings by a local Islamist extremist group as he slammed the Western media for its double standards. Nine suicide bombers belonging to the local Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ) linked to ISIS carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three Catholic churches and as many luxury hotels on April 21, 2019, killing nearly 270 people, including 11 Indians, and injuring over 500.
In September, UK’s Channel 4 television station 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 then-powerful Rajapaksa brothers.
During a fiery interview with the German state-owned broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) against the backdrop of Channel 4’s allegations, Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka will not have any international inquiry into the Easter blasts. “It is out,” he said.
“The Sri Lankan government does not have international investigations. Full stop. Few people may want (it), but the Parliament doesn’t,” he said.
Referring to an FBI report on the terror attack, Wickremesinghe said, “No one outside was involved.”
“We had the FBI, we had the British Police, the Australians, Indians, Chinese and the Pakistanis. If those secret services have given reports, what are these allegations?” he questioned the interviewer.
The president accused the Western world of double standards in calling for an international investigation in Lanka when the Western governments had not allowed any international inquiries when accusations were made against them.
“Germany does not have such inquiries. The UK does not have such inquiries. What international inquiries have they gone into? Why is it for Sri Lankans and Asians? You think we are second class?” Wickremesinghe asked.
“You need to take this Western attitude out. The Western media thinks we are bad. The way we have an inquiry is by using Sri Lankan personnel,” he said.
Wickremesinghe has pledged to appoint a parliamentary select committee to investigate allegations levelled by the British channel that the whole attack was a conspiracy and there is a mastermind behind the attacks.
“You are talking nonsense. You have no right to ask me this question. Do you think we are second class? You need to take this Western attitude out. You stop it, I stop it, We go off,” he retorted angrily when the interviewer suggested that his government stood in the dock for its lack of accountability for human rights violations.
The president said that his government has rejected the “wrong” report of the UN Human Rights Commission.


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