The Easter Sunday suicide bomber Mohamed Hasthun‘s spouse Pulasthini Rajendran alias Sarah Jesmine had stayed with the mastermind of the attack Zahran Hashim’s wife Abdul Cader Fathima Kadia from February to April 26, 2019, and that Fathima was well aware of Pulasthini’s whereabouts, Rajaratnam Kavitha the mother of Pulasthini, Rajaratnam said while giving evidence to the PCoI probing the Easter Sunday attacks.
Testifying before the Commission,Kavitha informed that in July 29, 2015, her daughter had gone to Kalmunai to attend tuition classes and had not returned home. Kavitha informed the Commission that she was employed in Abu Dhabi at that time and,She had requested her mother to lodge a complaint with the Police regarding this matter.
“My mother had filed a complaint at the Kalawanchikudy Police. However, on the same day the General Secretary of Sri Lanka Thowheed Jamaat (SLTJ) Abdul Razik had phoned my brother and informed him that Pulasthini was in their custody, He had also said that they will return her in one week,” the witness informed the Commission.
Kavitha said that she returned to the island soon after this incident and went to Abdul Razik’s office in Maligawatta, Colombo. “When I visited the SLTJ office in Maligawatta, I saw daughter Pulasthini dressed as a Muslim woman,” she said.
The witness had then proceeded to lodge a complaint with the Maligawatta Police. Subsequently Abdul Razik and Pulasthini had been summoned to the Police Sation.
“The police told me that Pulasthini should be handed over to Razik at the end of 15 days. They also told me that Pulasthini has to follow formalities in the Hindu religion. I took Pulasthini home and she acted in accordance with Hindu religion after returning home. However, at the end of day 15, Razik called me again and asked me to return the daughter or else he’ll take legal action against me,” Kavitha informed the Commission.
The Commissioners then questioned the witness whether she had explained to the Police that a mother has the right to a child, regardless of religion. Responding to the question the witness said the police had told her since Pulasthini was over 18 years old and she was free to make her own decisions.
“Razik’s aim was to convert Hindus to Islam. In the very first instance, when I lodged the complaint at Maligawatta Police, I explained this matter. However, the police did not pay any attention to it," she informed the Commission.
The witness informed the Commission on September 24, 2015, Pulasthini was at her home in Mankadu area and Razik had taken her again with him. “This time, I learned that Razik had taken my daughter and married her to Mohammed Hastun, who was later identified as the Katuwapitiya church suicide bomber,” she informed the Commission.
However, Kavitha informed the commission that she had not found any evidence with regard to her daughter’s marriage.
“I had again informed this to the Maligawatta police but they said that Pulasthini and Hastun were over 18 years, and they can make their own decision. At this time, I learned that they had changed my daughter’s name to Sarah Jesmine,” the witness said.
Kavitha said that a few months after her daughter’s marriage she took Pulasthini to Abu Dhabi in January 2016 and kept her there for about four months.
“Pulasthini told me that she cannot live with Hastun. She worked as a cashier in Abu Dhabi. However, after four months she told me that she wanted to recommence her education and went back to Sri Lanka. She promised me that she’ll not go with Hastun again,” Kavitha said.
Pulasthini’s mother, Kavitha said that Hastun had lodged a complaint with the Kattankudy Police against her that she had kept his wife Pulasthini forcibly with her.
“The complaint was investigated by the Kattankudy police along with a group by the Muslim Federation and they had handed over my daughter back to Hastun,” she said.
The witness further said that after some time she came to know that Zaharan’s wife had taken her daughter to a house in Narammala and her daughter Pulasthini, had spoken to her for the last time on February 19, 2019.
She informed the Commission that she had lodged another complaint at the Narammala police station on April 6, 2019, since she had not received any information about Pulasthini for two months.
“On April 7, 2019, an individual named Roshan came to my house and said he was sent by Razik. He informed me that Pulasthini was with Zahran’s wife and gave me a contact number to inform him if I received any calls from Pulasthini,” she said.
“I went back to Kalawanchikudy and Katankudy police stations to lodge complaints about my missing daughter,However they refused to accept my complaint. Since both the Police stations rejected the complaint, I then went to the Human Rights Commission's regional office in Batticaloa,” she said.
The witness informed the commission that an officer attached to the Human Rights Commission’s office said that he personally knew about Zahran and that there was nothing to be scared of since Zahran was a normal person.
She also said that the Police had shown her photographs of gold jewelry found in the Sainthamaruthu safe house after the explosion and that her daughter's jewelry was not found there.(Yoshitha Perera)