Easter Sunday serial attacks on churches and hotels
By S.S. Selvanayagam
A fuller seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court yesterday granted Leave to Proceed in respect of the Fundamental Rights Petitions filed against Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pujith Jayasundera and former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando, for the alleged failure to act on the intelligence information in respect of the Easter Sunday serial attacks on churches and hotels on 21 April.
Twelve petitions were taken up before the seven-judge Bench, comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justices B.P. Aluvihare, Sisira J. De Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardane, Prasanna S. Jayawardena, L.T.B. Dehideniya, and Murdu N.B. Fernando, who fixed the matter for hearing on 20-22 January 2020.
Viran Corea appeared for the Respondent IGP Pujith Jayasundera. Anuja Premaratne appeared for the Respondent former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando.
Attorney General Dappula De Livera, with Additional Solicitor General Farzana Jameel, Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle, and Senior State Counsel Induni Punchihewa appeared for the Attorney General.
Gamini Perera appeared for the Petitioners Janath S. Vidanage, the Managing Director of a travel company, as well as Saman Nandana Sirimanne, father of the deceased Medha Sathsarani Sirimanne (21) and Imesh Thiwanka Sirimanne.
Saliya Peries PC appeared for Rev. Fathers Ashok Stephan, Sarath Iddamalgoda and Sherard Jayawardana.
Faisz Musthapha PC with Razik Zarook PC, Faiza Markar, Faris Sally, Hejaz Hisbullah and M. Mehran Careem appeared for the petitioner Hilmy Ahamed.
Sanjeeva Jayawardena PC appeared for BASL.
The Attorney General had, on 3 May, declined to appear for the IGP Pujith Jayasundara and DIG of the Special Security Division Priyalal Dasanayake in the Fundamental Rights Petition before the Supreme Court, despite the request made by the Director of the Police Legal Division.
Petitioners claim the inaction/actions of the Respondents constitute Executive and Administrative Action.
They seek the Court for a declaration that the Respondents have violated the fundamental rights to equality and equal protection by law, as well as the freedom to engage in lawful occupation and business.
They are also asking the Court to direct the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute the IGP under the Penal Code.
on 21 April three Christian churches, namely, Shrine of St. Anthony Church, Kochchikade, St. Sebastian›s Church in Negombo, and Zion Church in Batticaloa, were bombed whilst the Easter service was taking place, on one of the most important days in the Christian calendar.
A further three attacks took place in the Shangri-La Hotel, the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, and the Kingsbury, three luxury hotels in the commercial capital Colombo. The above were targeted in a series of coordinated terrorist suicide bombings.
Later that day, there were more explosions that took place at a housing complex in Dematagoda and a guest house in Dehiwala, when the Police approached to apprehend suspects who aided and abated the bombers, and where the suspects homed to organise said attacks targeted on several cities in Sri Lanka.
At least 360 people were killed, including at least 37 foreign nationals and 3 police officers, and at least 500 were injured in the said bombings up to date.