Chinese research ship close to India’s EEZ

International maritime traffic monitoring platforms revealed that the Chinese geophysical scientific research vessel Shi Yan 6 is engaged in either research or observation activities close to the Exclusive Economic Zone of India.

The vessel was reportedly moving close to the Nicobar Islands at a very slow pace.

The Chinese geophysical scientific research vessel Shi Yan 6 entered the Indian Ocean via the Malacca Strait and was observed close to the Nicobar Islands.

The vessel that was heading towards Sri Lanka yesterday, later turned to the Bay of Bengal and proceeded towards the Nicobar Islands, located close to the Exclusive Economic Zone of India, at a very slow pace.

When monitoring the route of this vessel, it was observed that the Shi Yan 6 was moving along the Ninety East Ridge, a one-dimensional structure situated on the floor of Indian Ocean.

The Yuan Wang 5 that reached Sri Lanka last year, and the Xiang Yang Hong, that reached the island over the past three years also engaged in operations in the area known as the Ninety East Ridge.

In the past two decades, India and the United States have engaged in multiple research projects in this area called the Ninety East Ridge.

Azad Moulana offers to testify in Easter attacks probe

Whistleblower Azad Moulana has offered to testify before an international probe into the Easter Sunday attacks.

Making a statement during a side event at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Moulana said that he will only bear witness before an
international independent investigation.

In the statement Moulana, the former spokesperson of the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pullikal (TMVP) said that the documentary “Sri Lanka’s Easter Bombings”, which was broadcast on 5 September by the British Channel 4 has created considerable interest in Sri Lanka.

“Various articles and editorials have been written, and while the documentary has generated some support for an international independent investigation, a lot of rumours and fake news have been published and even my wife and children have been slandered and their pictures have been published on social media,” he said.

Moulana said that while he worked for Shivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, a Member of Parliament, State Minister of Rural Road Development, former Chief Minister of the Eastern Province and leader of the political party Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal, which
had earlier been a militant group, he was not a fighter.

“Indeed, I have never been trained to use arms. Because of my position I had access to important and secret information related to the Easter Sunday suicide attacks as well as many political killings that took place during the period of the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa,” he added.

Full statement:

The documentary “Sri Lanka’s Easter Bombings”, which was broadcast on 5 September by the British Channel 4 has created considerable interest in Sri Lanka. Various articles and editorials have been written, and while the documentary has generated some support for an international independent investigation, a lot of rumours and fake news have been published and even my wife and children have been slandered and their pictures have been published on social media.

I would therefore like to make the following statement.

From 2006 to February 2022 I have worked for Shivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, a Member of Parliament, State Minister of Rural Road Development, former Chief Minister of the Eastern Province and leader of the political party Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP), which had earlier been a militant group. I was the Propaganda Secretary as well as the spokesperson of the TMVP. I was not a fighter. Indeed, I have never been trained to use arms. Because of my position I had access to important and secret information related to the Easter Sunday suicide attacks as well as many political killings that took place during the period of the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

On 21 April 2019 on Easter Sunday a terror attack killed 269 persons including 45 children, 40 foreigners and injured more than 500 others. Only when the media revealed the identity of the suicide bombers after the attack did I realize that I had strong evidence about the masterminds and other perpetrators and also the motivation for this terror attack. I have in no way been involved in preparing or carrying out these terrible and devastating attacks.

Following the defeat of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government in 2015, Pillayan was arrested and imprisoned in the Batticaloa prison under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) in connection with the murder of former Tamil National Alliance Member of Parliament Joseph Pararajasingham, who was shot dead on Christmas Day 2005 at the St. Mary’s Cathedral, Batticaloa. As a secretary to Pillayan, the court had granted me permission, along with his lawyers, to meet Pillayan to discuss legal matters. During a visit in September 2017 Pillayan told me that some Muslim prisoners from Kattankudy were with him in the same cell. A father, his son and six others had been remanded for extremist activities and attacks on another Muslim group in Kattankudy. They were from an organisation called National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ). On Pillayan’s request I met Sainy Moulavi.

Later, Pillayan asked me to contact the Military Intelligence (MI) to arrange funds for these prisoners’ relatives to pay their bail. They were released on 24th October 2017. At the end of January 2018, Pillayan told me to arrange a secret meeting between Suresh Salley, who was then a brigadier, and Sainy Moulavi’s group. Pillayan said that Suresh Salley would inform me about the meeting place and time. A few days later Suresh Salley contacted me and asked me to request Sainy Moulavi to come to the Puttalam Vanaththavillu area. The next day I traveled with an MI officer from Colombo to Puttalam, Sainy Moulavi’s group came from Kurunegala. Pillayan advised us not to use my own vehicle or driver for this meeting and said that the transport would be facilitated by the MI. The meeting took place in early February 2018 at a large coconut farm of 50 to 60 acres, located outside of Puttalam. Suresh Salley arrived in a grey colour Toyota car with a driver. Sainy Moulavi arrived 30 minutes later with a group of six persons in a white van. Sainy Moulavi introduced his elder brother Moulavi Zaharan as the leader of the group.

The meeting lasted for more than two hours. I did not participate in the meeting but waited outside. After the meeting I traveled to Batticaloa and on the next day updated Pillayan about the meeting. Pillayan said that Suresh Salley had a big plan and a deal with Zahran’s group like they the one with TMVP. He told me to keep the information about this meeting secret and to assist if they asked for any help. Besides the meeting with Sainy Moulavi in prison in September 2017 I met Zahran and his group only one time in February 2018 during the meeting with Suresh Sally. Apart from this

I had no connection or relationship with them. I was not aware of their terrorist intent or plan until after the terror attack.

On Easter Sunday, 21st April 2019, Suresh Salley contacted me at around 7 am and told me to go immediately to the Taj Samudra Hotel in Colombo, to pick up a person who was waiting there and take the person’s phone. I told him that I was currently in Batticaloa and not in Colombo. About an hour after this conversation simultaneous terrorist attacks took place across the country.

Immediately after the attacks Pillayan sent a message through a prison guard and asked me to meet him urgently. When I saw him in prison at about 11 am on Easter Sunday he told me that the mastermind behind the Easter attack was Suresh Salley and that he had assumed that an attack like this would happen. He asked me to call Sainy Moulavi to find out, there was, however, no response. It was only because of media reports in the evening that I realized that the participants in the meeting that I had organized on the request of Pillayan were indeed suicide bombers involved in the Easter attack. Through the President’s investigation commission and the inquiries of the CID I also learned that the person whom Suresh Sally had wanted me to meet was Jameel, the bomber who had been tasked to carry out a suicide attack at the Taj Samudra Hotel but then, in a last-minute change of plans, left the Taj and later exploded himself in a small hotel in Dehiwela.

Pillayan and the TMVP supported Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the last presidential election. After Gotabaya Rajapaksa became president, Suresh Salley returned to Sri Lanka and got promoted as Major General and appointed as Director of State Intelligence Service (SIS), a job he continues to hold. The government however did not take quick action to release Pillayan as promised because the former Attorney General refused to withdraw the charge sheet against Pillayan as there was conclusive evidence against him. During the General Election of 5th August 2020, when he was still in prison, Pillayan was elected Member of Parliament. After the election Pillayan asked me and his brother to meet Suresh Salley to tell him not to forget how Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the present government came into power and to warn him that he would have to pay a huge price if Pillayan were not released. A few days later the new Attorney General withdrew the case against Pillayan at the High Court of Batticaloa.

Besides my knowledge about the organisers of the Easter Sunday attacks, I have detailed information about many political murders and abductions which took place between 2005 and a large number of these killings were committed by the Tripoli Platoon, a killing squad operating undercover in the intelligence unit of the Sri Lankan Army. The unit was initially led by Major Prabath Bulathwatte and later by Colonel Shammi Kumararatne. It was under the direct command of Maj. Gen. Amal Karunasena, who then had been Director of MI and was later made Army Chief of Staff.

This platoon reported to Gotabaya Rajapaksa directly and received orders only from him, when he was Secretary of Defence.

This platoon and the TMVP were responsible for a number of major political assassinations during and after the war, including the assassinations and disappearances of journalists. They are particularly responsible for the assassinations of former parliamentarians Joseph Pararajasingam and Nadarajah Raviraj, the assassinations of the journalists Lasantha Wickrematunge, Sivaram and Nadesan as well as the disappearances of Professor Sivasubramaniam Raveendranath, Vice-Chancellor of the Eastern University and the cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda.

I also have information about many other human rights violations carried out jointly by the MI and the TMVP. Although I did not agree with what they were doing, I could not disassociate from them as I feared for my life.

Until today I fear that he Sri Lankan authorities would abduct, imprison, or even kill me. Compounding my fears, police visited my mother and my sister soon after the broadcast of Channel Four’s documentary, and two unknown persons checked with my sister’s son in an attempt to discover my telephone number and my address.

The President’s Commission and the Parliamentary Select Committee, which were both tasked to investigate the Easter Sunday bomb attack, failed to reveal the truth about the mastermind and the perpetrators of this tragedy. As mentioned in the fundamental rights petition filed in the Supreme Court on 18 February 2022 by Shani Abeysekera, the former director of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), the investigation team he led had uncovered important evidence of connections between the attackers and the Army, but were prevented by the Army from continuing their investigation.

Because of my knowledge, I have been severely threatened by the Sri Lankan government’s intelligence service. I fled to Europe seeking political asylum to save my life. As a witness to the planning of several terrorist attacks, political assassinations and kidnappings in Sri Lanka, I am willing to testify in investigations into these crimes. I do not believe, however, that the authorities in Sri Lanka have an interest in revealing the truth. I will therefore only bear witness before an international independent investigation.

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Pillayan says no secret that MR and Fonseka assisted TMVP

Former rebel and current State Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan says it is no secret that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka assisted the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pullikal (TMVP).

Speaking in Parliament today, Pillayan said that the TMVP obtained weapons and financial assistance from the Rajapaksa administration and the Army which was led by Fonseka during the final stages of the war.

The TMVP consisted of former LTTE members who assisted the Army to defeat the LTTE.

Pillayan reiterated that he is prepared to face an international investigation into the Easter Sunday attacks.

The State Minister also reiterated that the allegations linking him to the Easter attacks are false.

He was speaking in Parliament today during a debate initiated by the opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) on the Easter Sunday attacks.

Cordial talks between President Ranil and UN chief Guterres

President Ranil Wickremesinghe engaged in a cordial meeting with President Joe Biden of the United States in New York on Wednesday (Sept. 20).

This high-profile meeting unfolded amidst a lavish dinner hosted by President Biden, gathering all the heads of state who had participated in the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said.

The encounter began with a warm welcome from President Joe Biden, who extended his hospitality to President Wickremesinghe.

Accordingly, the two leaders have engaged in a cordial and insightful conversation, touching upon various topics of global importance.

Following their discussions, they joined their fellow heads of state for a group photograph, symbolizing the spirit of international cooperation.

Adding to the diplomatic tableau, President Wickremesinghe, Professor Maithree Wickremesinghe and Mr. and Mrs. Biden posed for a photograph.

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Petition submitted to UN on Navy 11 youth abduction case

Families of the Disappeared submitted a letter to the United Nations Office and several diplomatic missions in Colombo yesterday highlighting the failure of the authorities to deliver justice to the families of the victims of 11 youths allegedly abducted by a Navy abduction for ransom gang between 2008 and 2009. In the petition, the organisation requested the agencies and missions to demonstrate to the Government that the international community is actively monitoring and expressing interest in this case, whether by attending court proceedings, engaging with Government officials, or through any other means available.

They also appealed to the United Nations for assistance in facilitating transportation for the families to attend court dates and for covering their legal expenses.

The Families of the Disappeared also called on the UN and diplomatic missions to provide backing to public campaigns that call for the continuous and expedited hearing of the case, avoiding further unnecessary delays. The organisation noted that only three family members are now able to appear on behalf of the victims in court, and they are elderly and in poor health. “Tragically, another three have already passed away,” they said. The organisation highlighted that while the court case has been ongoing for nearly 15 years, no hearings were conducted at the trial bar since 2020 when it was initially appointed.

The families of victims also held a demonstration in front of the UN office following the submission of the petition.

In 2009 an investigation commenced and a case was filed against a group of Navy officers suspected of running an abduction for ransom racket. The ring and those accused of supporting it included several Navy top brass. The victims of the gang were identified as John Ried, Roshan Lyon, Amanan Lyon, Rajeev Naganathan, Pradeep Vishwanathan, Thilakeswaram Ramalingam, Mohamed Sajid, Jamaldeen Dilan, Mohamed Ali Anver, Kasthuriarachchige Anton, Thygaraja Jegan.

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SJB alleges evidence of military involvement in Easter attacks

The main Parliamentary Opposition Party, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) claimed that there is enough evidence to suspect that the military intelligence services were involved in the Easter Sunday attacks that took place in 2019.

Speaking in the Parliament during the two-day adjournment debate on the Easter Sunday attacks and national security, which commenced yesterday (21), SJB Opposition Parliamentarian Nalin Bandara Jayamaha claimed that the SJB would raise its concerns over four major instances where it is clear that the military intelligence services had supported the Easter bombings, and had later intentionally hampered the ongoing investigations into the incident.

MP Jayamaha claimed that the investigations launched into an internet protocol address owned by a female officer at the Police intelligence service, who was allegedly the girlfriend of a military intelligence officer who had connections with the Easter Sunday bomber Zahran Hashim, had been dismissed by the authorities, and that such incidents clearly depict the relationship between the bombers and the military intelligence agencies.

He claimed that Jameel, who blasted himself at a rest house in Dehiwala, had received a phone call after which he had suddenly left the Taj Samudra Hotel. He further claimed that this particular incident coincided with the facts included in the testimony given by Azad Moulana, the whistleblower who appears in the controversial Channel 4 documentary, that the Chief of the State Intelligence Service, Major General Suresh Sallay had informed him to take Jameel out from the Taj Samudra Hotel. “When Jameel was going out, he was questioned by a security officer. Then, he called his wife and she said that two officers of the intelligence agencies had visited their house at that moment. Then again, those officers called that security officer and asked him not to let Jameel go. But, he went. After that, the security officer was questioned by the Wellawatta Police and those two military officers who had gone to Jameel’s house were reportedly at the Police station. This is the second incident,” he alleged.

Speaking further, he claimed that the military intelligence agencies and the Police intentionally blamed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for killing two Policemen in Vavunathivu in 2018, which is now believed to be done by the team of Zahran. “When this incident happened, the military intelligence agencies announced five times that this was done by the LTTE to hamper the investigations launched by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID). They (military) had intentionally blamed a former LTTE cadre called Ajanthan to divert the attention to another side,” he alleged.

He alleged that when Sadique and Haq who were suspected for the Buddha statues vandalism incident in Mawanella, were arrested immediately after the Easter Sunday attacks, the military intelligence agencies had tried on two occasions to get those suspects into their custody by forcing the CID officers, claiming that the investigations must be done by them. He said that because of such incidents, suspicion could emerge regarding the revelations made by the documentary that the State military agencies were involved with the Easter attacks.

He also noted that an investigation must be launched into the person called Abu Hind, who could be the mastermind behind the Easter Sunday massacre, even though the Police Department claims that it is a “myth”. He added that no one can neglect that Abu Hind is involved in the attacks as a top level agent, since the testimony given by Zahran’s wife Haadiya revealed that the attacks were expedited according to his (Abu Hind) instructions.

The Parliamentary debate on the 2019 Easter attacks comes weeks after the controversial documentary titled Sri Lanka’s Easter Bombings – Dispatches was aired by the British television network Channel 4, in which startling accusations were made. It was based on the testimonies of highly-placed whistleblowers who alleged that senior governmental officials were complicit in this heinous act.

Against this backdrop, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, on 15 September, appointed a three-member committee to investigate the allegations in the documentary. The panel, chaired by retired Supreme Court Judge, Justice S.I. Imam, consists of retired Air Force Commander, Air Chief Marshal Jayalath Weerakkody and President’s Counsel Harsha A.J. Soza.

Thileepan commemoration in 2020: Indictments served on Sivajilingam

The Colombo High Court today served indictments on former Jaffna District Parliamentarian M.K. Sivajilingam for committing offenses while commemorating the 33rd death anniversary of former LTTE member Rasaiah Parthipan alias ‘Thileepan’ in 2020.

The Attorney General had filed indictments against M.K. Sivajilingam for organising and participating in a memorial event for Thileepan at Kondavil in Jaffna on or around September 15, 2020.

The High Court had issued a warrant for the arrest of Sivajilingam for evading courts. When the case came up before Colombo High Court Judge Adithya Patabendige, the accused surrendered before Court through his lawyers. The warrant against the accused was recalled and he was ordered to be released on two sureties of one million rupees each by the High Court. The matter was fixed for pre-trial on October 20.

The Attorney General had filed indictments against former Parliamentarian Sivajilingam for violating an order made by the President under the Public Security Ordinance through an extra ordinary gazette notification dated 2011.08.29 read with Article 44(2) of the Constitution and Section 27 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

President’s Counsel Rienzie Arsekularatne and Counsel Udara Muhandiramge appeared for the accused.

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Easter Sunday attacks: SIS chief’s message of warning seen by superiors

The then director of the State Intelligence Service has sent a message of warning to his superiors a day prior to the Easter Sunday terror attacks of 2019.

This came to light during a briefing by the Public Security Ministry yesterday (19) for MPs about the progress of investigations into the bombings.

Jayawardena has sent the message at 4.54 pm on 20 April 2019 to the IGP, defence secretary and the DIG of the CID and he has received confirmation that they have seen it.

Given below is the message:

MPs at the briefing accepted the message as a warning that should have been heeded and questioned as to what action the higher defence authorities had taken to prevent the attacks.

Batticaloa Campus returned to Hizbullah

The Batticaloa Campus which was taken over by the security forces following the Easter Sunday terror attacks, was returned to former Governor M. L. A. M. Hizbullah.

The former governor said that the premises were returned to him, following a request made to the president.

M.L.A.M. Hizbullah built the Batticaloa Campus with international financial aid to operate a higher education institution.

Iran’s Ebrahim Raisi accepts invitation to visit Sri Lanka during meeting with Ranil

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi has accepted an invitation extended by Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinge to visit the island nation.

Wickremesinghe met with Ebrahim Raisi on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York.

President Wickremesinghe referred to the longstanding close cooperation with Iran and the mutual support extended by both countries to each other over the years, said the President’s Media Division.

He he also conveyed appreciation for the assistance during the recent economic crisis.

President Raisi had stated that both countries need to build on their traditional friendship by identifying new pathways to further expand cooperation.

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi had also stated that there is potential to increase economic cooperation and proposed early convening of the Joint Economic Commission.

The prospects for cooperation in the agriculture sector, particularly introducing modern technology in which area Iran has considerable expertise, was also discussed, said the President’s Media Division.

The two leaders recognized that as countries belonging to the same region there is potential for regional cooperation in a range of areas of mutual interest including as members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

The President referred to the cooperation with Iran in the power and energy sector particularly the Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project. In this context, President Wickremesinghe extended an invitation to President Ebrahim Raisi to visit Sri Lanka and ceremonially open the Uma Oya Hydropower Station.

President Raisi accepted the invitation and also extended an invitation to President Wickremesinghe to visit Iran. Both leaders agreed that these high level visits would give impetus to further consolidate bilateral ties.

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