Daily Online Edition of The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena summoned an emergency meeting of his Cabinet yesterday night to oppose the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing the April 21 attacks that killed 258 people and wounded almost 500.

Sirisena said last week that he had met with the national police chief and his top brass 13 days before the Easter Sunday attacks but no officer had raised the warnings which had been relayed by India.

The St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka, which was damaged in the Easter attacks.

Sirisena was reportedly upset over Mendis being grilled by the committee and the session being open to press.

In his May 29 testimony to parliament, intelligence boss Sisira Mendis said security council meetings were irregular, making it hard to properly protect the island nation.

If reports were to be believed then Mendis was sacked by Sirisena following the comments he made to the committee.

Evidence before the parliamentary select committee, which began its publicly televised sittings since late last month, has placed the president in a poor light, suggesting that he failed to act on advance warning of the attacks. The bombings took place on April 21 in which 258 people were killed. Halfway through the testimony, the live telecast of the proceedings was stopped on the president's orders, officials said in Colombo.

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On Friday (June 7) evening, Sirisena summoned an emergency cabinet meeting and said that police, military, intelligence officials and ministers will not testify before the PSC.

But President Sirisena is refusing to cooperate with the inquiry.

Sirisena has repeatedly denied he was aware of an impending threat.

Sirisena's rival Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is leading the PSC, which is also investigating possible lapses that allowed the Islamic State terrorists to target hotels and churches.

The Sri Lankan government has admitted there were intelligence failures before the attacks.

Among the officials questioned so far are the Defence Secretary, intelligence chief, Police chief and former Defence Secretary. The bombings were carried out by the National Towheed Jamat and the Islamic State.

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