President asserts that ensuring national security is first and foremost responsibility

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Sri Lanka President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa emphasizes that ensuring national security is his and the government’s first and foremost responsibility and appropriate steps have already been taken to achieve this.

The President has stated in a Facebook post that he is not prepared to hand over the power of arresting or arbitrarily releasing people to politicians as has happened in the past.

“I will also take actions to rectify any omissions or mistakes made by the relevant authorities or officials,” he said.

President Rajapaksa had posted this on his official Facebook account, considering the differing views in the society regarding the release of Riyaz Bathiudeen, the brother of former Minister and parliamentarian Rishad Bathiudeen, five months after he was arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) on 14 April in connection with the Easter Sunday attacks.

The President emphasized that that his government has not entered into any political deal with Parliament member Rishad Bathiudeen.

President’s statement:

“Ensuring national security is the first and foremost responsibility of my government. Appropriate steps have already been taken to achieve this. We will ensure that no ethnic, religious or other forms of terrorism or extremism are allowed on this land and that the right of every citizen to live without fear and suspicion is fully protected.”

The terrorist attack on April 21, 2019 was due to the serious breakdown in the security sector and the political and social environment in Sri Lanka that has given rise to terrorism and extremism.

Therefore, our government has not hesitated to take the necessary steps to block all avenues and activities that foster terrorism or extremism. A presidential commission is conducting a full investigation into the Easter attack.”

The CID is also conducting further investigations. Following those examinations and tests, the law will be strictly enforced. I am not prepared to hand over the power of arresting or arbitrarily releasing people to politicians as has happened in the past.

It will be carried out legally by the relevant authorities after proper investigations. I will also take action to rectify any omissions or mistakes made by the relevant authorities or officials. I emphasize that our government has not entered into any political dealings with MP Rishad Bathiudeen.

I assure my citizens that I will not forsake the trust that they have placed in me and I will most certainly continue to work towards strengthening the built trust.

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