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Sri Lanka intelligence chief fired after criticism over bombings

11 June 2019

In his deposition to the committee, Mendis had blamed the government stating that the President had failed to hold security review meetings to assess the threat by the Islamic State and other radical elements.

A letter which was sent to the Speaker conveying the AG's stance on the Committee had not been tabled before Parliament, President Sirisena had claimed.

Maithripala Sirisena summoned an emergency meeting of his Cabinet yesterday night to oppose the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing the April 21 attacks that killed 258 people and wounded almost 500.

"Any public servant summoned by the PSC [Parliamentary Select Committee] is obliged to give evidence", Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said in a two-page response to Mr. Sirisena. Halfway through his testimony, the live telecast of the proceedings was stopped on the president's orders, official sources said.

"The Cabinet meeting ended inconclusively", the source said on condition of anonymity.

Sirisena told his police top brass on Friday that he would not allow any police, military or intelligence personnel to testify.

In the meeting on June 9, Sirisena would push the Indian Prime Minister to lift the travel advisory for Sri Lanka, marking it "safe to visit".

Chief of National Intelligence Sisira Mendis was sacked after testifying to the inquiry last week that the attacks could have been averted. Sirisena has denied he was aware of an impending threat.

Sri Lanka witnessed a series of eight coordinated explosions in several locations including three churches and three luxury hotels.

The Sri Lankan police have made elaborate security arrangements for Narendra Modi's visit including restriction in traffic movement during the day. The bombings were carried out by the National Towheed Jamat and the Islamic State. India had said in the aftermath of the Easter Bombings that intelligence shared with Sri Lanka had not been acted upon.

Sirisena's defence secretary and police chief have suggested that he did not follow proper protocols in dealing with intelligence warnings about the bombings.

Sri Lanka intelligence chief fired after criticism over bombings