THE PRIME SUSPECT

THE PRIME SUSPECT

THIS HEINOUS BARBARIC ACT, ON EASTER SUNDAY HAS BEEN CONDEMNED BY INDIA AND WORLD-WIDE NATIONS….

Death toll from attacks on Sri Lanka churches, hotels rises to 290, about 500 wounded says police being the latest updates.

When the world woke up in bliss to celebrate Easter, it turned out to be a day of grief for people in Sri Lanka as it witnessed one of the ghastliest terror attacks ever. A series of bomb explosions shook the small island nation, killing over 290 people and injuring more than 500 with the count increasing every hour. At least 6 Indian Nationals have been reported among the foreigners who died in the serial blasts.

NAME OF PLACES

    • St. Anthony's Shrine, Colombo.
    • St. Sebastian's Church, Negombo.
    • Zion Church, Batticaloa.
    • Cinnamon Grand, Colombo.
    • Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo.
    • The Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo.
    • Near Dehiwala Zoo in Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia.
       A house in Mahawila Gardens,       Dematagoda.

 


Tamil Nadu Thawheed Jamaath
 (TNTJ) Tamil: (தமிழ்நாடுதவ்ஹீத்ஜமாஅத்) is a non-political Islamic organization based in Tamil NaduIndia. It was founded in 2004. TNTJ claims to preach true Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims, and is involved in social activities. TNTJ has held demonstrations and protests across Tamil Nadu several times on various issues including reconstruction of Babri Masjid, removal of liquor shops and load shedding. Its leader P Jainulabdeen encourages followers to observe peaceful protests and to avoid any inconvenience to traffic. In September 2012, the U.S. Consulate encouraged U.S. citizens traveling in and around Chennai to exercise caution and monitor local media for security updates, owing to a protest by TNTJ following an anti-Islamic movie.On 28 January 2014, TNTJ organized a protest to demand increase in reservation for Muslims in Tamil Nadu.

The latest news, being that the hard-line Thaweed Jamaath group active in Tamil Nadu is the prime suspect behind the Easter Sunday serial Sri Lanka blasts. The group has a significant presence in Tamil Nadu too. But counter terrorism specialists say it would be difficult for a local group to carry out coordinated attacks of this magnitude seen yesterday.

The eight serial blasts that shook Sri Lanka on Easter, reverberated around the world have attention to an arc of radicalisation stretching from the Maldives to Bangladesh where Islamic State-inspired modules have been regularly linked to terror incidents. Though counter-intelligence experts are cautious in the absence of an acknowledgement, topping the shortlist of suspects is Thaweed Jamaat, a hard-line group with a significant presence in Tamil Nadu too.

Though suicide bombing was virtually invented by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam decades ago, Sunday’s attacks bear the hallmark of Islamist groups. The Wahhabi-aligned Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamaath (SLTJ) has found traction in the country’s eastern province and has been pushing Sharia Law with burqas for women and building mosques to disseminate radical messages.

The attacks in their operationalisation, seem similar to the Holey Artisan Bakery suicide attack in Dhaka in 2016, which was carried out by local boys, but trained by Islamic State. The spectacular scale bears the IS signature and is in keeping with the desire of jihadi groups from Al-Qaida to IS, including variants like Lashkar and Jaish, to stage attacks that serve to intimidate enemies and attract recruits. Maldives with the dubious distinction of having one of the highest number of IS fighters, has been a source of worry. Apart from terrorist acts, the deeper radicalisation due to IS messaging is a serious challenge to social stability.

Though it is felt prematurely, whether the Thawheed has made the leap into suicide bombings is not clear and will await investigation even though the scale of the attacks might indicate that Jihadi terrorism has made a major landfall in Sri Lanka. SLTJ’s activities have triggered a Buddhist backlash which has resulted in some tension between Buddhists and Muslims, including recent attacks against Buddha statues in the country. But the sources confirm to this effect too.

Since the attack on Sunday was specifically directed against Christians on a holy day, the likelihood of the event being part of a bigger Islamist Jihad is not ruled out. The initial assessment is that the attack was likely to have been carried out by radicalised Lankan Muslims. But counter-terrorism specialists say it would be difficult for a local group to carry out co-ordinated attacks of the magnitude seen yesterday without the help of an outside terror force.

Police have arrested 24 suspects till now in connection with attacks on churches and hotels being the latest update. This gruesome incident has also been strong condemned by Pope, in his message from Vatican precincts. He said, “Pope Francis is denouncing the "cruel violence" of the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka and is praying for all those who are suffering from the bloodshed.Speaking from the loggia of St. Peter's Basilica, Francis said: "I want to express my loving closeness to the Christian community, targeted while they were gathered in prayer, and all the victims of such cruel violence."
He added: "I entrust to the Lord all those who were tragically killed and pray for the injured and all those who are suffering as a result of this dramatic event."

Sushma Swaraj ji in her twitter message “Colombo - I am in constant touch with Indian High Commissioner in Colombo. We are keeping a close watch on the situation. @IndiainSL

Narendra Modi ji in his twitter message “Strongly condemn the horrific blasts in Sri Lanka. There is no place for such barbarism in our region. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured”.

 

At this time of difficulty, all support has been extended by Indian Government to Sri Lanka and let us hope and pray that the island country bounces back to normalcy, at peace, the earliest.

 

With a heavy heart, News TN TEAM prays for the lives lost in the BOMB BLAST.

 

 

VIJAYASHREE RAMESH, ADVOCATE & SOCIAL ACTIVIST.