No evidence of Easter bomber’s wife fleeing to India: Sri Lankan official

Colombo, Mar 9 (PTI) Sri Lanka said on Tuesday that there was no evidence to back the claim that the wife of one of the suicide bombers belonging to a local extremist group that carried out the deadly Easter Sunday bombings had fled to India to avoid arrest.

“This is only a rumour. There is no confirmation of this,” Cabinet spokesman and minister Udaya Gammanpila said in response to a media query.

Pulasthini Rajendran alias Sarah, the wife of Achchi Mohammdu Mohammadu Hasthun who blew himself up at St. Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo on April 21, 2019, was believed to be a key figure in the deadly bombings.

Gammanpila said if the government gets any credible information of her presence in India it would make an extradition request. “If she had fled that means she had travelled illegally,” Gammanpila said.

Opposition has dubbed Sarah a key figure in the investigations on the bombings. They reportedly questioned the government why no action is being initiated to bring Sarah back from India.

During the probe by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI), a police officer said that he had received a tip-off from an informant that Sarah had fled to India by boat from the Mannar area.

On April 21, 2019, nine suicide bombers belonging to the local Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ) linked to ISIS carried out a series of blasts that tore through three churches and as many luxury hotels in Sri Lanka, killing 258 people, including 11 Indians, and injuring over 500 on the Easter Sunday.

The blasts targeted St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo, and a church in the eastern town of Batticaloa when the Easter Sunday mass was in progress.