By Saman Indrajith
The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing the Easter Sunday carnage is to ask President Maithripala Sirisena why he mismanaged the affairs of National Security Council and ignored the intelligence warnings of the possible attacks, according to sources.
The PSC members met, on Saturday, at the former Agriculture Ministry building near Parliament.
PSC members Ministers Dr Rajitha Senaratne, Ravi Karunanayake, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, Prof. Ashu Marasinghe, Dr Jayampathi Wickremaratne attended the meeting, presided by its Chairman Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri. PSC members Minister Rauff Hakim and Dr Nalinda Jayatissa were not present.
The PSC members decided on the questions to be forwarded to President Sirisena, who is expected to give his testimony on Sept 20. Most probably the testimony would be recorded at the Presidential Secretariat, PSC sources said.
The PSC decided to question the President on the affairs of the NSC. The witnesses including Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and IGP Pujith Jayasundara, who is on compulsory leave and State Defence Minister Ruwan Jayawardena, have testified that they had been excluded from the NSC meetings prior to the Easter Sunday attacks, on the advice of the President. Former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando, too, confirmed in his testimony to the PSC that he had been instructed by the President that Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and IGP Jayasundara should not be invited to NSC meetings since Oct 2018.
The PSC sources said that it had been established by the evidence given by many witnesses so far, that the President had been informed of the warnings of the imminent attacks. There had been foreign intelligence input, too, and those reports had been sent to the President days ahead of the Easter Sunday attack. Therefore, the PSC was duty bound to question President Sirisena who is also the Minister of Defence why he had failed to issue instructions for the subordinate offices to prevent the attack which killed around 260 and wounded around 500 besides causing an immense damage and destruction, PSC sources said.
The PSC members decided to meet again before questioning President Sirisena but the date has not yet been fixed.
A draft for the content of the report of the PSC, too, had been discussed, PSC sources said.