Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Mount Lavinia Division Muditha Pussella had provided a contradictory statement before the Commission about advising the Parish Priest of St. Mary’s Church in Dehiwala Rev. Fr. Daya Welikada Arachchi before the Easter Sunday bombings, it was revealed to the PCoI into Easter Sunday attacks on Saturday.
During an earlier testimony, SSP Muditha Pussella informed the Commission that before the Easter Sunday attacks, the police had a security meeting with the vigilantes committee of St. Mary’s Church in Dehiwala.
During this testimony, SSP had informed the Commission, at the security meeting, one woman among the vigilantes committee had raised a question whether this discussion was about a possible terror attack.
However, testifying before the commission, the Parish Priest of St. Mary’s Church Rev. Fr. Daya Welikada Arachchi said that there was no security meeting held prior to the attacks and the evidence provided by the SSP was completely false.
The priest informed the Commission that there was a security meeting on December last year after the Easter attacks and during that meeting a woman in the vigilantes committee raised a question whether there was another possible terror attack.
“Before the Easter Sunday I requested the OIC of Dehiwala Police in writing, to provide security to the church from April 14 - 21, 2019 (Easter Sunday) citing several reasons such as crowd handling, mitigate the possible traffic jams and for the safety of the devotees,” he said.
He informed the Commission that two days before the Easter attacks, a robbery had taken place in the church and police had conducted their investigations during the whole week.
“I came to know the bombing incident through some video clips shown by some members of the church and afterwards the police had searched every person entering the premises. We conducted small service sessions after the incident and before that we had closed the gates and the doors of the church,” he informed the Commission.
He further said that he would have informed the Cardinal and taken measures to cancel all Easter services, if he had received any information pertaining to an imminent attack.(Yoshitha Perera)