Besides the number of deaths, which has crossed over 300, the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka makes the tragedy even worse is that, it has now emerged that the country outrightly neglected detailed alerts provided by India and the US ahead of the attack. What is surprising is all the accused are from well to do families financially and well-educated with some of them studied in UK and Australia returning back home to get radicalised to carry the agenda of killing and destruction targeting a particular community. The intelligence input was reportedly as detailed as to include names and addresses of suspects, many of whom did indeed turn out to be the attackers. It is a classic illustration of political instability taking a toll on security, as the festering divisions between president and prime minister contributed to information silos and inaction. Even as several members of the radical Islamic group National Towheeth Jama’ath have been arrested in Sri Lanka, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks. This claim cannot be accepted without further evidence, and it is also true that the territorial strongholds of IS have been wiped out. But the toxic IS ideology clearly continues to transcend geographies. To counter it, countries must redouble the work of sharing intelligence and acting upon it. Intelligence inputs regarding a possible terror attack in Sri Lanka were shared by Indian agencies with their Sri Lankan counterparts earlier this month after the National Investigation Agency completed its probe into an ISIS-inspired module planning to kill prominent leaders in South India. The input was sent through diplomatic channels to the island nation after a thorough investigation pertaining to the ISIS case in Coimbatore was carried out by the NIA, which has filed a charge sheet against seven people. During investigation, the probe team had stumbled upon videos of National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) leader Zahran Hashim, which was indicative of a terror attack on the Indian High Commission in Colombo. The videos, seized from the accused in the Coimbatore case, showed Hashim asking youths from Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala to establish an Islamic rule in the region.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper