Colombo: In the aftermath of the horrific Easter bombings that killed over 250 people and injured hundreds in Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, in an exclusive conversation with NewsX thanked the Indian government for all the “help” given. Thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said: “Thank you for all the help you have given us. We all got to remove this type of terrorism from the whole of our subcontinent.”
Wickremesinghe also talked about the cooperation Sri Lanka received from Indian agencies and said, “I have spoken to the Indian Prime Minister and we have also told the Indian side what else is required. There was good cooperation between Indian and Sri Lankan agencies. We will require India’s help to trace a few more things.”
While speaking on the massive search operations that are underway to arrest the culprits, Wickremesinghe said, “A few perpetrators and suspects are on the run. There could be one suicide bomber also on the run. Until the last one is captured we cannot be sure that there will not be any other explosions. Some explosives are still untraceable. They might have dumped that somewhere. We need to trace that. The names of two domestic organisations have come up…”
Expressing his disappointment with the security lapses, Wickremesinghe said that the big question was how the security agencies failed to avert the terror attack despite having sound intelligence inputs. “The big question is if there was a paralysis in the system,” he said.
When asked whether he or President Maithripala Sirisena would offer their resignations for the failure to avert the terror attack, Wickremesinghe replied that an investigation was on and the President had appointed a commission to conduct an investigation, but there should be a parliamentary investigation as well.
When asked about the number of deaths in the attacks, Wickremesinghe said, “I have asked the departments to come up with the final number. The Health Ministry says it’s around 250. The Home ministry says it’s around 210+. The police says it’s around 350.
Wickremesinghe further added that “We will call for Indian team/help (when it’s needed). Other foreign teams like FBI and Interpol etc., are here because they need to check the movement of some of them (terrorists). For example, some of them travelled to UK, some to Australia. We are certainly in touch with India.”