Reacting sharply to Sri Lanka Army chief Mahesh Senanayake’s statement that some of the 12 suicide bombers who carried out the Easter Sunday bombings were trained in Kashmir, a top intelligence officer in Srinagar said that there was no input to prove the claim.
Speaking to IANS, the officer, who did not wish to be named, said: “We have no such information. The Sri Lankan intelligence has not sent us any input on this so that we can work on those links.
“As far as our information and inputs are concerned, there is nothing to prove that any of the suicide bombers involved in the attacks in Sri Lanka had visited Kashmir in connection with any subversive activity or for obtaining terror training.”
Backing the officer’s statement, a Union Home Ministry official said, “Sri Lanka hasn’t shared any such information with us. More importantly, Sri Lankan security agencies have themselves ruled out this possibility after investigation.”
In an interview to BBC World, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake had said that the suicide bombers had visited Kashmir, Bengaluru and Kerala to possibly train in terrorist activities before carrying out the blasts.
However, he said the exact motive of the bombers travelling to India was not known.
On being asked why Sri Lanka had not acted on the intelligence inputs shared by India on the attacks, the army chief said, “there was a gap in the government that everybody could see today”.
India is learnt to have sent as many as three alerts before the deadly bombings in Sri Lanka, including one just hours before the blasts.
The blasts targeted St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and Zion Church in the eastern town of Batticaloa around 8.45 am (local time) as the Easter Sunday mass were in progress.
Explosions were also reported from three five-star hotels — the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury in Colombo.
The relatively unknown National Thowheeth Jamaath — an affiliate of the ISIS — had reportedly carried out the Sri Lanka blasts.
Following the blasts, senior officers of the NIA had visited several places in Kerala as part of their sweeping probe against Zahran Hashim, the head of NTJ.
Hashim was confirmed to have been killed in the attack on a Colombo hotel on Easter Sunday.
There have been instances in the past when foreign militants, other than those belonging to Pakistan, got involved in militant activities in Kashmir.
Militants from Afghanistan, Sudan and even Chechnya have been killed by the security forces in Kashmir in the last 32 years. However, there have been no militancy-related incidents proving the involvement of Sri Lankan militants in Srinagar.
(With inputs from IANS)