SRILANKA LINKS BLASTS TO CHRISTCHURCH ATTACKS
24, Apr 2019
Prelims level : International Mains level : GS-II Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations
Why in News?
Reports quote Islamic State as claiming responsibility for the attacks that killed over 320.
- The serial bomb attacks on Easter Sunday, which claimed over 320 lives in Sri Lanka,were a retaliation for the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand on March 15, State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene told Parliament on Tuesday, based on “initial evidence” available with investigators.
- Also on Tuesday, over 48 hours after the coordinated blasts, the Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack, media reports said, citing the group’s AMAQ news agency.
- Sri Lanka had on Monday said a local Islamist radical organisation, the National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ), was responsible for the attacks but suspected it had links with international groups.
- “Those that carried out the attack that targeted
- members of the U.S.-led coalition and Christians in
- Sri Lanka the day are Islamic State group fighters,” a statement released by AMAQ said,
- according to the news agency AFP.
- At least 45 children were killed in the blasts, UNICEF said. Among those killed were 34 foreign nationals, including 10 Indians.
Alert for more attacks
- Even as Sri Lanka tried coming to terms with the brutal killings, holding mass funerals in Negombo near Colombo, and special prayer services, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe indicated that the threat of further attacks remained.
- The police and military remained on high alert after reports of an unidentified container truck and a van in Colombo, believed to be carrying explosives
- On whether Sri Lanka had evidence to corroborate IS involvement, Mr. Wickremesinghe said the security apparatus suspected the NTJ had links with international groups, including the IS.
Sri Lanka’s Muslim community fears backlash
- The Muslim community is equally outraged [by the blasts],” said Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader and Cabinet Minister Rauff. In his view, the “warped ideology” of the radical group cannot get “even an iota of support” from within the community.
- Community leaders also fear that the recent jihadist killings might taint the overall image of Sri Lankan Muslims. “Even when we were targeted by the BBS (hard-line Buddhist organisation Bodu Bala Sena) we did not retaliate even once,”
- Constituting about 10% of the island’s population, Muslims in Sri Lanka are widely
- perceived to be an enterprising community, successful in trade and as professionals.
Base of Islamist group
- Batticaloa, which witnessed one of the eight explosions, has also been identified as the base of the National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ), said to be behind the bombings.
- “It is not enough to see who the perpetrators are, we must also be mindful of who stands to gain. We have to apply the beneficiary test to understand and suitably address this issue.”
- “A terrorist attack is a threat not to some of us but all of us. We need a collective, national response to this
Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism’ (CCIT)
- The Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism is a proposed treaty which intends to criminalize all forms of international terrorism and deny terrorists, their financiers and supporters access to funds, arms, and safe havens.
- It is a draft proposed by India in 1996 that is yet to be adopted by the UNGA.
What does it call for?
- Universal definition of terrorism: no good terrorist or bad terrorist.
- Ban on all groups regardless of country of operation, cut off access to funds and safe havens.
- Prosecution of all groups including cross border groups.
- Amending domestic laws to make cross-border terror an extraditable offence.
- It also addresses, among other things, the issue of Pakistan’s alleged support for cross-border terrorism in south Asia.