Easter Sunday Attack is one of the darkest and unthinkable incidents that happens in history. Regardless of the race, religion and class all Sri Lankans suffered from this cruel attack. However, as a nation with unity, Sri Lanka could be able to recover the most of damage caused by this event. Let’s do the aftermath of this attack on the political perspective.
The growing level of distrust between President and Prime Minister was publicized
The aftermath of the attacks when Prime Minister tried to assemble the Security Council as the head of state as the President was overseas, he was denied to do so as per instructions from the president. Further in a later Statement the Prime Minister stated that since the failed coup in October 2018, president has not invited him nor the national minister of defence (non-cabinet) for any of the security council meetings to date and they are completely oblivious to any security measures that were in place in the country as the President holds both ministry of defence as well as ministry of law and public order.
The Government became heavily criticized aftermath of the attacks
The president appointed a special three-member committee to look and probe into the Easter attacks. The report was presented to the President in June 2019 but still, the contents are unknown. The members of this special committee appearing before parliament select committee recently stated that their findings are not conclusive and do not provide sufficient evidence to prosecute anyone.
The inability of the government to take any sort of security measures while having received actionable intelligence well in time was heavily criticized
The parliament convened after the attacks and a parliament select committee was appointed to probe into finding matters relating to this attack. The sessions of this select committee are still ongoing. All sessions were opened to media and were telecasted in order to give transparency to the public to know what went through government organizations prior to the attacks. Although the report is yet to be given, this gave the public an opportunity to know the details.
The image of the President was tarnished heavily as he was the head of all forces, police and security council
From the select committee hearings, it was known for a fact that the actionable intelligence received prior to the attacks were discussed in security council meetings. Speaking to the parliament, the President vehemently denied that he knew about the attacks or the details of the attacks prior to the event. He further stated that he came to know about the attacks through social media while he was in Singapore. His speech was erroneous as he stated he called to his staff in Sri Lanka around 10 AM Singapore time when he got to know about the attacks but in reality, the bomb attacks did not happen till around 11 AM in Singapore.
A large wave of public displeasure was aimed at politicians in general after getting to know that all parliamentarians were informed prior to the attacks
Former President and current Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapakse stated that his head of security had received a warning of possible attack prior to the events but he had no knowledge of this until after the attacks had taken place. These same sentiments were also stated by Minister Mano Ganeshan. Later it was found out that the police had issued a warning of a possible attack to all police units of dignitaries.
Giving into huge displeasure from the public aiming at the President, he asked Secretary of Defense to step down and fired the Inspector General of Police
President stated that the Secretary of Defense and Inspector General of Police has not done their jobs in a responsible manner and asked both of them to resign immediately. Although the secretary of defence stepped down, the IGP’s refusal led the president to terminate his services although it is being contested in courts whether the president has the power to do so. However, during parliament select committee hearings, the IGP stated that the president asked him to take the blame for the attacks.
The priority given to Security of the country by the current government came into heavy criticism when it was revealed that the intelligence services were crippled
The Prime Minister and the rest of the government maintained the position that the matters relating to security was not discussed by the president with them and after October 2018 they did not attend any security council meetings as president did not request them to join.
The main opposition tried to solidify their position among the public
The main opposition maintained that if they are running the government that these attacks would not have happened as they would be giving top priority for national security. Later in the week after the attacks former Secretary of Defense Gotabhaya Rajapakse stated that he would be open to run as a presidential candidate in the elections later this year and his first priority would be national security. Former US Diplomat Robert Blake had also stated that during Gotabhaya Rajapakse’s tenure as Secretary of defence this attacks would not have happened.