Sri Lanka Denies Reports Sirisena Said RAW Plotted Assassination
The Sri Lankan government on Wednesday rejected as "baseless and false" the media reports that President Maithripala Sirisena had accused India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of plotting his assassination.
"It is disappointing therefore that matters of this nature have become the subject of distorted and erroneous media reports taking the President's remarks out of context, which has given rise to further media and social media speculation and the spread of unfounded fear among the public," the statement read.
Sirisena also spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, to apprise him of the urgent steps taken by the Government of Sri Lanka to publicly reject the reports, as per the press release.
The Sri Lankan president said that he regards PM Modi “as a true friend” of Sri Lanka, and a close personal friend and stressed that he greatly valued the mutually beneficial ties between India and Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, Modi is said to have appreciated the prompt steps taken by the Sri Lankan president and his government to firmly refute the malicious reports by publicly clarifying the matters.
Earlier in the day, Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne had dismissed the media reports at a press conference.
"The president, as the Head of the Cabinet of Ministers, has paid attention to the printed and electronic media reports on the matters discussed during the Cabinet meeting at the Presidential Secretariat on 16th October 2018. It is stressed that those news are completely untrue,” he said.
The media reports had come ahead of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's visit to New Delhi for talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speed up India-backed projects, including the East Terminal project, in the island nation.
Earlier last month, reports had suggested that the Crime Investigation Department (CID) in Sri Lanka had questioned an anti-corruption crusader named Namal Kumara, who claimed to have knowledge regarding Sirisena’s assassination plot.
Kumara had subsequently led the CID to an Indian national from Kerala named Thomas, who also claimed to have knowledge of the plot.
These reports were, however, dismissed by the government, who warned reporters against spreading disinformation.
(With inputs from PTI)