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Sri Lanka Police Chief Refuses to Quit Despite President's Request, Say Sources

Maithripala Sirisena, facing criticism over the failure to thwart the attacks, blamed the inspector general of police Pujith Jayasundara and defence secretary Hemesiri Fernando for not sharing advance warnings of the attacks with him.

Reuters

Updated:April 28, 2019, 8:05 AM IST
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Sri Lanka Police Chief Refuses to Quit Despite President's Request, Say Sources
File photo of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena (Image: Reuters)
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Colombo: Sri Lanka’s police chief has refused a request by President Maithripala Sirisena to step down following suicide bombings on churches and hotels, two sources at the president’s office said on Saturday, deepening the rift at top levels of government.

Sirisena, facing criticism over the failure to thwart the attacks, blamed the inspector general of police Pujith Jayasundara and defence secretary Hemesiri Fernando for not sharing advance warnings of the attacks with him.

Fernando resigned earlier in the week, but Jayasundara was holding on, the two officials said.

“He has refused to resign despite the president’s request,” one of the sources said. Under Sri Lanka’s constitution, only parliament can remove the police chief through a lengthy process designed to shield officers from political interference.

The attacks in which more than 250 people were killed have exposed the divisions between Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, with both saying they had not seen warnings given by India’s spy service about impending strikes on churches and the Indian embassy including one just hours before the attacks.

Jayasundara, the police chief, was handpicked for the job by Wickremesinghe. The first source at the president’s office said Sirisena was still expecting him to turn in his papers. The second source confirmed the situation.

Both sources declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speak with media.

Jayasundara did not answer his phone or email seeking comments. An officer at the police department said the police chief had not resigned but did not come to work on Saturday.
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
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