Fmr. Govt’s reluctance to use PTA halted arrests of Islamic extremists

10 July 2020 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By Yoshitha Perera

Testifying before the PCoI probing the Easter Sunday attacks, Former Director of Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) Nalaka de Silva yesterday said the previous government showed reluctance to use the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to prosecute alleged terrorists.  

De Silva claimed that they had more than enough evidence against those who were behind the formation of ISIS affiliated groups by 2017. However, he said the TID went through difficulties in taking action against the groups because the previous government showed reluctance to use Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to prosecute alleged terrorists.  
According to the testimony of De Silva, he had sent 87 reports to former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pujith Jayasundara on the rise of Islamic extremism since March 2017 and IGP had instructed him to arrest Zahran.  


“The previous government was not happy about using the PTA. The act was created to deal with LTTE. We found it difficult to adopt the regulations in order to take action against Islamic extremist groups,” he said.   


He also claimed that he had sent reports about the extremist groups and he believed the IGP had shared the information at intelligence review meetings held with the then Defence Secretary and then State Minister of Defence.  


“In 2017 after analyzing social media platforms used by Zahran, the TID had found that he was sharing posts related to ISIS and was promoting their extremist teachings. We wanted to take legal action against him and we obtained an open warrant on July 2018,” De Silva said. 

 
Meanwhile, he said that he had realised how Zahran could be a serious threat to national security, after learning about the clash took place between Sufi Muslims and Zahran in March 2017 at Kattankudy.  

De Silva claimed that they had more than enough evidence against those who were behind the formation of ISIS affiliated groups by 2017. However, he said the TID went through difficulties in taking action against the groups because the previous government showed reluctance to use Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to prosecute alleged terrorists.  


According to the testimony of De Silva, he had sent 87 reports to former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pujith Jayasundara on the rise of Islamic extremism since March 2017 and IGP had instructed him to arrest Zahran. “The previous government was not happy about using the PTA. The act was created to deal with LTTE. We found it difficult to adopt the regulations in order to take action against Islamic extremist groups,” he said.   He also claimed that he had sent reports about the extremist groups and he believed the IGP had shared the information at intelligence review meetings held with the then Defence Secretary and then State Minister of Defence.  

 

  •  We found it difficult to adopt the regulations in order to take action against Islamic extremist groups

 

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