Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka
Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka on Tuesday stressed the Government should better be connected with other countries in the region and learned from them to eradicate extremism in the fight against terrorism.
He pointed out that countries in the Asian region with a majority Muslim population had been able to eradicate extremism and attain higher development goals.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the National Path, a people’s movement for the development and the protection of the nation, held at BMICH, Ranawaka said a collective effort was needed to eradicate terrorism and extremism. “If we take countries like Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Indonesia, they have somehow been able to maintain a peaceful environment in the country, but the majority of their population is Muslim. Therefore we should learn from them rather than seeking advice from Western nations.”
He pointed out that the military cannot fight against terrorism alone, and the entire society needs to continue a strong dialogue to eradicate terrorism in the country.
He noted that with better coordination between political structures and the military, extremism and terrorism could be prevented. According to Ranawaka, there were lapses in coordination between the political structure and security forces.
According to Ranawaka, the first hint of the Easter Sunday attack was given by the murder of two police officers in Vavunathivu, but investigations were diverted due to a various political statement.
“During the Vavunathivu incident, some said it was attacked by LTTE sympathisers. Unfortunately, our security forces also arrested former LTTE members, which diverted the whole investigation.”
Ranawaka claimed that the suspect that arrested in connection with vandalising Buddha statues in Mawanella had confessed regarding training given to them, and provided details that led to finding explosives in Wanathawilluwa, but investigations were not continued. “The motorbike explosion in Kattankudy on 16 April was somehow not taken into serious consideration. If we had studied these incidents, and maintained coordination with the political structure, we could have prevented the Easter Sunday attack,” he claimed. He stressed the Government should have unity among its members, and disseminate centralised information to the public. He also noted the importance of having a board that consists of members representing all religions.(NS)
Pix by Sameera Wijesinghe