The Katankudi Police OIC Nishantha Kathuriarachchi yesterday said he stopped the motorcyclists from going without helmets when he took over in 2017. He said young people were defying the law and were going without helmets at that time.
Following is excerpts of the questions that were put to the OIC
Chairman Kumarasiri - What was the situation in Katankudi when you took over in 2017?
It was very peaceful and calm. However, I was told that some incidents had taken place before my tenure as the OIC. Zahran, Rilwan and Army Mohideen were out of Katankudi at the time I took over.
Chairman - Were there any complaints about any extremist group after you took over?
Not after I took over. However, there have been issues every Friday before I took over.
Chairman - Who was leading the extremist group?
Zahran. Thirteen others were arrested but Zahran, Rilwan and Army Mohideen had fled at that time.
Minister Senaratne -What happened with Zahran and the lot?
They had fled the areas when warrants were issued.
Minister Senaratne – There are other police stations in the country did you not get information from them.
I did what I could within my limits.
Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka – Was Zahran or others active during your tenure? They had fled by then. Others were kept on reporting to the police station every month.
Field Marshal Fonseka –You did not monitor them though they were asked to report to the police? Isn’t there a serious lapse?
We were on the look out but nothing was reported
MP Nalinda Jayatissa -Were you aware of the incident on April 16, 2019, in Kattankudi?
Yes, I went there as soon as I was told about the incident. One bike was blown up. We found out that the two motorbikes have been purchased from Kelaniya by Zahran’s group.
MP M. A Sumanthiran - Did Zahran own vans?
No. they used to rent vehicles.
Jayampathi Wickramaratne – Were you warned of the April 21, 2019 attack?
No. I was not informed
Dr. Wickramaratne -You were not informed even though you were in charged of the area where Zahran had his base?
Dr Wickramaratne – Did Kattankudi people defying the law which is common to any area. Where there any one who rode motor bikes without helmet?
Yes, the youth in the area did defy the law with regard to helmet. I explained to them about the law. They started wearing helmets thereafter.
MP Rauff Hakeem – did anyone conduct any investigation on Zahran in Kattankudi?
Intelligence units did that on their own.
MP Jayatissa – Some who testified in this committee before said they complained with the police on Zahran’s activities ?
They discussed with me but did not make any complaint officially (Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana)