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Sri Lanka President Suspends Defiant Police Chief Over Blasts, Appoints Replacement

Jayasundara has refused to heed Sirisena's call to resign following the April 21 coordinated suicide blasts on three churches and three luxury hotels.

Sri Lanka President Suspends Defiant Police Chief Over Blasts, Appoints Replacement
Sri Lankan soldiers outside St Anthony's shrine in Colombo after the Easter Sunday blasts | AP photo
Sri Lanka President Suspends Defiant Police Chief Over Blasts, Appoints Replacement
outlookindia.com
2019-04-29T13:16:42+05:30

 Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has suspended police chief Pujith Jayasundara, his office announced on Monday after the defiant Inspector General refused to quit over the Easter Sunday bombings. Senior Deputy Inspector General CD Wickramaratne has been appointed as acting police chief.

The President had demanded the resignation of Jayasundara after accusing him and former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando of failing in their national security duties.

Sirisena has also appointed former IGP, N. K. Illangakoon as Advisor to the Ministry of Defence.

Jayasundara has refused to heed Sirisena's call to resign following the April 21 coordinated suicide blasts on three churches and three luxury hotels.

The attacks came in spite of early warnings and the security establishment's failure to take preventive action has come under severe criticism.

Earlier, defence ministry secretary Hemasiri Fernando resigned promptly on his request on Thursday.

Deputy Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Nalin Bandara said a motion to remove the police chief will be tabled in Parliament within this week.

Meanwhile, Jayasundara has said that he has done nothing wrong and that he would resign if the defence minister resigns as well.

Nine suicide bombers carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and three luxury hotels on the Easter Sunday, killing 253 people and injuring over 500 people.

The Islamic State claimed the attacks, but the government has blamed local Islamist extremist group National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ) for the attacks.

Sri Lanka on Saturday banned the NTJ and a splinter group linked to the ISIS.

A total of 106 suspects, including a Tamil medium teacher and a school principal, have been arrested in connection with the Easter Sunday blasts.

According to Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry, the number of foreign nationals who have been identified as killed remained at 40, including 11 from India.

In a related incident, the wife and child of terror ring leader Mohommad Zaharan Hashim are among the people rescued during a military operation in Kalmunai on Friday night.

It was reported that Abdul Cader Fathima Sadia and 4-year-old Mohomed Zahran Rusaina had been rescued by the military from a house in Kalmunai, Colombo Gazette reported.

At least two explosions had taken place in the house before the Police and military were confronted by armed gunmen on Friday in the area.

A gun battle later saw two suspected militants being killed. In all, 15 people were killed in the Kalmunai incident.

(With inputs from PTI)

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