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Sri Lanka ignored more warnings over Easter attacks, says shot Muslim councillor

A Muslim councillor who was shot in the head just weeks before the Easter Sunday attacks, described how his warnings to the Sri Lankan police were ignored, adding to evidence that the security forces received intelligence that an attack was due to take place, but may have allowed it to proceed.

In his first interview with journalists, Mohammad Taslim described how he had tried to warn authorities about two brothers, Sadiq and Shaheed Abdul-Haq, and rumours that they had been stockpiling weapons.

However, Sri Lankan authorities took no action.

Speaking to NPR, Taslim said, “Muslim radicalisation was [treated as] an intra-Muslim phenomenon — one set of Muslims fighting another set of Muslims — and therefore there was no need for the state to get involved".

A few weeks after he spoke to authorities, social media posts were rife labelling Taslim a “snitch”. 

On March 9th 2019, he was shot point-blank in his home whilst sleeping next to his wife. Taslim survived but has been in and out of a coma for a number of months and has permanently been paralysed on the entire left side of his body. Unable to work and facing large medical bills, his family are financially struggling. Though his wife immediately informed the police of the brothers she suspected of being behind the shooting. However, the police were late in responding and were unable to catch the culprits who fled their home. 

The brothers are now awaiting trial for allegedly assisting the Easter Sunday bombers, who eventually killed hundreds of people. 

See more from NPR here.

Earlier this year,  a parliamentary select committee report said Sri Lanka’s security forces received intelligence that an attack was due to take place on Easter Sunday but may have allowed it to proceed in order to “create chaos and instil fear” ahead of presidential elections.

The report said that “further investigations will be needed to understand whether those with vested interests did not act on intelligence so as to create chaos and instil fear and uncertainty in the country in the lead up to the Presidential Election”.

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