Today Current Affairs In Hindi
News of the Day : Two Islamic State men linked to Sri Lanka Easter blasts
- April 25, 2019
- Posted by: Shivam
- Category: NEWS Worth To Read
News of the Day
Two Islamic State men linked to Sri Lanka Easter blasts
Two suspects involved in the deadly Easter attacks in Sri Lanka are Islamic State (IS) returnees from Syria and Iraq, investigators have found.
The suspects’ exact role in planning and executing the ghastly serial bombings remains unclear, but Sri Lankan intelligence has established that the two young men were IS-trained, The Hindu learns from a Colombo-based source who was part of a recent, high-level discussion on the attacks. “Now the pieces of the puzzle should start coming together,” the source said, requesting anonymity.
30 youth joined IS
Two years ago, Sri Lanka highlighted over 30 of its youth joining IS in Syria. They came from “well-educated, affluent families”, the then Justice Minister told Parliament in November 2016. But in the three years since, Sri Lankan authorities have made no public mention of any threat from radical Islamist forces in the island.
Not even when they arrested a group of Muslim youth last December for vandalising Buddha statues. They suspected that the youth had links with militant organisations abroad, but the findings since are unclear to many, the source said.
However, the lead that investigators have now obtained could potentially help Sri Lanka ascertain how the local National Thowheed Jamaath may have worked with the IS, which has claimed responsibility for the eight explosions that killed 350 people, including 45 children, on Sunday.
Further, the jackets used by the suicide bombers were ‘typically used’ by the IS, a source said.
So far Sri Lanka’s investigating agencies have identified 139 persons as members of the NTJ and associated groups and “traced all of them”, an official Colombo-based source said. “It is believed that not all of them are militant, but details of their possible role in the attacks are still emerging.”
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has also established that nine suicide bombers, including a woman, were part of the team that executed the deadly serial blasts. The identity of all but one of them has been established, according to State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene.
“Most of them are well educated youth coming from middle, and upper middle-class families. One of them is believed to have got an undergraduate degree from the UK, and a post-graduate degree from Australia,” he told media persons on Wednesday.
“A total of 60 suspects have been arrested so far,” police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said. The CID, which is chiefly investigating the attacks, is interrogating at least 32 suspects now, while the rest are in custody at different police stations.
Investigators are also studying if suspects had been moving about in the region in the recent past, official sources said.
Meanwhile, eight countries are said to be actively supporting Sri Lanka in its investigations and response to the mass atrocity, the biggest the island has witnessed in its post-war decade. Briefing Colombo-based diplomats recently, President Maithripala Sirisena described them as “very powerful countries” with “extensive technological and military knowledge,” a diplomatic source said, requesting anonymity.
The FBI, Interpol, and teams from the UK and Australia are now in Colombo to assist with the investigations, authorities said.
Further, President Sirisena spoke of Sri Lanka having received prior intelligence on the attacks from “a friendly country.”
Early April, India had alerted Sri Lanka on the imminent threat, but both President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said they were personally unaware of the warning, though their intelligence officials had the input. President Sirisena, who has vowed ‘strict action’ on relevant officials who failed to pass on the intelligence to him, has decided to overhaul the security apparatus.
Minister Wijewardene, who said he was also not informed of the threat, admitted to a “major lapse” on the part of the government in intelligence sharing. “The government has to take responsibility,” he said.
Potato farmers cry foul as PepsiCo sues them
Just days after multi-billion dollar conglomerate PepsiCo sued four Gujarati farmers, asking them to pay 1.05 crore each as damages for ‘infringing its rights’ by growing the potato variety used in its Lays chips, farmers groups have launched a campaign calling for government intervention.
The case is coming up for hearing in an Ahmedabad court on Friday.
Warning that the case could set a precedent for other crops, farmers groups are pointing out that the law allows them to grow and sell any variety of crop or even seed as long as they don’t sell branded seed of registered varieties.
The farmers want the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPV&FRA) to make a submission in court on their behalf and fund legal costs through the National Gene Fund.
When asked for a response, a PepsiCo India spokesperson said: “Given the issue is sub judice, it would not be proper to offer detailed comments.”
T.K. Nagarathna, the PPV&FRA registrar who has jurisdiction for vegetable crops, said that the case had come to the notice of the Authority and it was looking into it. “We can take action based on the court order,” she told The Hindu.
“These farmers are small, holding around 3-4 acres on an average, and had grown a potato crop from farm-saved seed after they accessed the potato seed locally in 2018,” according to a letter sent to the PPV&FRA by farmers groups. They alleged that PepsiCo hired a private detective agency to pose as potential buyers and take secret video footage, and collect samples from farmers’ fields without disclosing its real intent. PepsiCo then filed suit, the letter said. It added that at least nine farmers in three districts have been charged since 2018.
On April 9, an Ahmedabad commercial court judge granted an ex-parte interim injunction against the farmers and appointed a commissioner to prepare an inventory, take samples and send them to a government lab for analysis. The case is coming up again on April 26.
PepsiCo has invoked Section 64 of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001 to claim infringement of its rights. However, farmers groups cite Section 39 of the same Act, which specifically says that a farmer is allowed “to save, use, sow, resow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under this Act” so long as he does not sell “branded seed”.
Farmers groups warned that the case could have a snowballing effect on other crops. “These are among the first cases of alleged IPR infringement against farmers in India in a post-WTO world. Wrongly decided, these could set a wrong precedent impacting farmers’ livelihoods quite adversely,” said Badribhai Joshi of the Gujarat Khedut Samaj, in a statement.
(Source – The Hindu)