The National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) or its leader Zahran Hashim were not directly connected to ISIS and the true mastermind behind the coordinated terror attacks on April 21, 2019 was a completely different group wanting to damage the country, SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem told the PCoI on the Easter Sunday attacks.
He said that whoever was behind the attacks had achieved their ultimate goal, which was to destabilise the country.
"The ISIS banner was only a front. Zaharan and his NTJ group were hired as pawns to carry out the attacks by this particular group. This is a one-off incident," Mr. Hakeem said.
After Mr. Hakeem said the Commissioners asked him to reveal the identity of the group behind the attack.
He said he could do so in the absence of the media.
Earlier, Mr. Hakeem told the PCoI that the SLMC had no political links with NTJ leader Zahran Hashim.
"Various people were trying to concoct stories about I and the SLMC having connections with Zahran, but we never had any contact with Zahran," he said.
The PCoI then asked Mr. Hakeem about visiting an NTJ mosque and a clash with Zahran's brother Rilwan Hashim on August 21, 2015 subsequent to the 2015 general election.
Mr. Hakeem said he was a political leader and was not supposed to know each and every person in the country.
He said he had visited the Kattankudy hospital to check on some of those who were injured in the clash and that he had visited the NTJ mosque after the clash to inspect the damage and Zahran was also present at the time. (Yoshitha Perera)