(This is the second part of a three-part series on the Easter attacks carried out by a group of suicide bombers inspired by Islamic State (IS) ideology in 2019. Yet, the persisting conspiracy theories continue to cast shadows, regrettably obscuring the truth and jeopardizing national security in Sri Lanka. With Britain’s Channel 4 due to make ‘revelations’ today (05), the aim of this article series is to initiate an extensive social dialogue with regard to the terror attacks.)


Late last year, a Sri Lankan presented himself before the United Nations and claiming that he knew a lot about Sri Lanka’s state secrets and that his life was under serious threat, answered questions posed to him for five days.

His statement recorded in English was later translated by a person living in an European country to Tamil and posted in social media.

Although it contained claims deemed serious, it initially caught the attention of only a few of those among the Sri Lankan expatriates in those countries. Unfortunately, Sri Lankan missions abroad or authorities back home did not seem interested in it either. However, with the statement receiving publicity through social media, a certain group started paying special attention.

They are none other than those who sow seeds of falsehoods across the world with claims of a conspiracy behind the barbaric 2019 Easter Sunday attack by Zahran and his group inspired by the Islamic State ideology and also accuse the Sri Lankan military of war crimes. Members of this group have links with former workers at certain media institutions in the UK and other countries and who later started public relations firms. The script of the entire drama was written accordingly.


The lead character in this story made a statement to a special committee of the UN Human Rights Council for five days. His claims were catalytic to those groups to tarnish Sri Lanka’s image after a pause in their activities.  Also, his fabrications tallied with the Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith led Catholic Church’s estimation of the attacks being a political conspiracy, without understanding the realities and resultant parameters of Islamic fundamentalism. His story became a bestseller for the UNHRC and certain western individuals. He identifies himself as Azad Maulana. However, his real name is Mohamed Hanseer. Azad Maulana is the pseudonym given him by Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman.


After deserting the LTTE, Karuna and his followers started fighting their parent organization, which the Sri Lankan military used strategically to its advantage. That happens in any war. We have a tragic history of certain Sinhalese inspired by the LTTE’s ideology having planned to explode passenger planes midair. Only a few know that unpalatable truth.

What is tragic in this country is that when the suspects are being brought to justice, they change faces all of a sudden as human rights defenders or social purifiers. This tragi-comedy becomes legendary in other countries which turn into safe havens for these wolves in sheepskin. They thrive on others’ misfortunes. But, in the final analysis, such persons are criminals with bloodstains in their hands. It is in this context that the story created by Azad Maulana and how it became a bestseller should be reviewed.

It is true that Maulana had made great pains to write his script. Maybe, numerous parties extended support in that. Also, rather than his old story about crimes such as extorting money from the helpless and recruitment of child soldiers, it is essential to link his activities with what transpired in relation to the Easter Sunday attacks. He is one most cunning fox.

Moulana well knew that his safety would be guaranteed if he laid the blame of the attacks on state intelligence. He knows that the value has declined in the European market for the LTTE or the crimes committed after deserting the organization. But, there is a big demand for the belief that eight Muslims from the upper middle class conspired to bring a politician to power through those attacks. It appears that Maulana was well aware of that.

Who was his father?


Before analyzing his statement, a brief history of the man is worth a look over. Born in 1983, Azad Maulana lived at Maradamunai in Ampara. His father did politics with Varadaraja Perumal and got killed in India. Maulana has hastened to post related pictures on that in his social media accounts.

After graduating from Peradeniya University, he worked as the private secretary to Shankar who was chairman of the Cashew Corporation that was managed under a ministry of Douglas Devananda. It was Shankar who introduced him to the Karuna faction, with a warning to exercise caution in dealings of money.


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At the time, Maulana lived with his wife at a rented house in Panadura. He was first paid a Rs. 6,000 salary and a Rs. 2,000 travelling allowance by the Karuna faction. Six months later, the salary was increased to Rs. 10,000 and a motorcycle bought for him. When Karuna clashed with Pillayan, he allied with the latter. Thereafter, Maulana has been known mainly as a fraudster of money and womanizer.

He has related complaints lodged against him with Akkarapattu, Valachchena and Wellawatte police. He is also accused of polygamy after he married a teacher at Sainthamaruthu. Also, he had cheated large sums from the people with promises of jobs after Pillayan became the East chief minister. It is said that he gave Rs. five million for a court case of Pillayan. It is after that Pillayan’s faction came to know that he has swindled money.

Maulana faces charges of cheating Rs. 10 million from a family at Valachchena with a promise to help them migrate and also involvement in a racket of secondhand bicycles imported from Japan. A look into his assets will help determine the true nature of the person. After he worked for a few years as Pillayan’s media secretary, the party started probing him over his fraudulent acts, giving him an only option of fleeing the country with a claim of political asylum.  For that, he needed a convincing story. Hence, his talk of intelligence involvement in the Easter Sunday attacks.

His story goes along with the previous remarks by the Cardinal and certain other priests of the Catholic Church, narratives of self-proclaimed human rights defenders and Inspector of Police Nishantha Silva who was involved in crime investigation and now exiled in Switzerland. Thus gives a financial worth for the utter falsehood fabricated by Maulana.

Maulana has killed two birds with one stone. Firstly, he has a complete cover-up for all his financial frauds and womanizing. Secondly, international publicity to his untruths will enable him to gain political asylum. In the end, Sri Lanka stands to lose with discredits and embarrassments. It is against all traditions and ethics of humanity to make use of complete fallacies by such liars to take revenge over personal enmities.


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Maj. Gen. Suresh Sallay

The victim of Maulana’s claims is Maj. Gen. Suresh Sallay. It appears that he has chosen his target after making a careful study of the sociopolitical nature of the Catholic Church after the Easter Sunday attacks. According to him, Zahran and Pillayan had met in prison in Batticaloa. He says that after seeing him, Zahran’s brother Rilwan has accused him of not being a true Muslim. He has allegedly gone with Pillayan to Habarana and met Sallay, who has given them several instructions.

What is important is that most incidents in his lengthy narrative had actually happened during those times. However, the difference is that he has substituted accounts and persons to suit him. He has distorted everything to his advantage.



Raviraj – Lasantha Wickramatunga – Prageeth Ekneligoda


lasantha raviraj prageeth


One of the two cases in point is the serial killings said to have been committed by Pillayan’s political party. He confesses to nearly 120 murders, including those of Raviraj, Lasantha Wickramatunga and Prageeth Ekneligoda. Although he fails to provide any acceptable proof, suspicion creates in the mind of the listener. That suspicion is a crucial catalyst for his hope for political asylum.

His fabrication of having met Zahran and his men in Puttalam is of similar nature. He claims to have accompanied Sallay to Puttalam in search of a place to train the suicide killers. For that, Zahran came from Kurunegala, according to his account. However, at the time, Sallay had been attached to the Sri Lankan mission in Malaysia.

Zahran’s wife Hadiya had given a similar statement on several occasions. That is - Zahran had unexpectedly gone to Puttalam one day to meet a lawyer from Colombo and that person’s name had been saved in Zahran’s mobile phone as LLB. Neither the Catholic Church nor responsible authority has taken this into account so far.


Meeting Gotabaya


Gotabaya Rajapaksa


Maulana also says he met Gotabaya Rajapaksa at his Mirihana home. That is true. Gotabaya met various groups during his propaganda campaign for the presidential election. One meeting included members of the Pillayan’s political party, who had met Maithripala Sirisena previously. However, there is no proof that Gotabaya had spoken to Zahran or his men. But, Maulana was there. He has used that for his gain.

The UN and other external parties use Sri Lanka in the same manner. That has been happening for a long time.

Some things need to be stressed to the masses. Do you admit that there was a risk of Islamic fundamentalist spreading in the country? Do you think various group would not have used the Easter Sunday attacks for political gain? Do you know that those responsible have escaped through legal loopholes and live freely while attempting to implicate the innocents?


They are using Channel 4 and other media as cat’s paws in their hunt. None has the pure intention of ensuring justice for the victims of the terror attacks. Channel 4 cannot be expected to mention anything more than that. What they want is to take this conspiracy theory forward and find scapegoats. However, the truth can never remain concealed.

To be continued..

By a defence correspondent


* We respect the right to reply by any party that feels aggrieved by this article - editor


Related News:

Suresh Sallay tells court he and his family under pressure

Decrypting Easter Attack Secrets: Roles of Abu Hind, Podi Saharan and Jameel — Part One

Channel 4 to make Easter Sunday attacks revelations on 05 Sept.

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