Amateurish conduct of police units like TID exposed before PCoI

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Certain police units would directly call suspected ISIS sympathisers and inquire whether they had been radicalised or were members of the ISIS, former SIS Director and SDIG of Eastern Province, Nilantha Jayawardena, yesterday told the  Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks.

For example, the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) had once called in Abdul Latheef Mohamed Jameel, who blew himself up at a Dehiwala Hotel and had asked him whether he had been radicalised, the witness said.

"When we inform various police divisions of suspected ISIS sympathisers or those who had been radicalised, the police would call them and ask if they have been radicalized directly," Jayawardena said, noting that tackling suspected radicals was a delicate issue and that investigators had to be caution.

The witness said that in October 2017 they had sent a list of 94 persons suspected to follow ISIS ideology to then IGP and then Defence Secretary. "However, we were not told what the investigating units had uncovered. We would like feedback from investigators because this helps us crosscheck information we get from informants. Information sharing should be a two-way street. We keep giving information, and we would like to know developments."

Jayawardena said that when investigating units commenced an inquiry, suspects were likely to know that they were under surveillance. It was inevitable given the nature of a police investigation, he said.

"Then suspected ISIS sympathisers take precautions and our informants find it difficult to gather information about them," the former SIS head said.

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