By Yoshitha Perera
Former President Maithripala Sirisena would have been more responsible than other officials if necessary action had not been taken by him on the issue of Islamist extremism and other related matters reported at the National Security Council meetings.
Responding to a question raised by Counsel Dilshan Jayasuriya, former State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director SDIG Nilantha Jayawardena said so yesterday at the PCoI probing the Easter Sunday attacks.
Counsel Dilshan Jayasuriya representing former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando had cross-examined SDIG Jayawardena.
“Former President Maithripala Sirisena was also present at NSC meetings when SIS made their presentation on the spreading of Islamic extremism,” SDIG Jayawardena said. Responding to a question Mr. Jayawardena also said that Defence Secretaries who served the previous government had the opportunity to gain information by referring to reports that were available in the Defence Secretary’s office.
When asked whether he had personally met Fernando at the time of his appointment as Defence Secretary and made him aware of the Islamist extremism that was spreading at the time, SDIG Jayawardena said that on 13 November, 2018, he informed Fernando regarding the National Thowheed Jama’at, its leader Zahran Hashim, Sri Lankans who had joined Islamic State (IS) and many other matters.