India’s NIA joins Sri Lanka’s probe into Easter Sunday attacks

NEGOMBO, SRI LANKA - APRIL 21: Sri Lankan officials inspect St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, north of Colombo, after multiple explosions targeting churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on April 21, 2019, in Negombo, Sri Lanka. At least 207 people have been killed and hundreds more injured after multiple explosions rocked three churches and three luxury hotels in and around Colombo as well as at Batticaloa in Sri Lanka during Easter Sunday mass. According to reports, at least 400 people were injured and are undergoing treatment as the blasts took place at churches in Colombo city as well as neighboring towns and hotels, including the Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand, during the worst violence in Sri Lanka since the civil war ended a decade ago. Christians worldwide celebrated Easter on Sunday, commemorating the day on which Jesus Christ is believed to have risen from the dead. (Photo by Stringer/Getty Images)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) in India has joined the probe into the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka, India’s Republic TV reported.

A team from NIA left earlier this week to assist the Sri Lankan authorities. The mandate of NIA team is to probe the India link in the blasts that were carried out in Sri Lanka. The team is expected to return within a week.

Eight countries are currently assisting Sri Lanka in the probe. 69 key suspects have been arrested over the past four weeks. Sri Lankan authorities say they have nearly completed the investigation.

In fact some of the ISIS sympathisers had travelled from India to Sri Lanka for training. NIA is essentially trying to unearth the India link.

Top NIA source has told Republic TV that they stumbled upon leads on Hashmi after CERT-In stepped in and managed to retrieve information from the hard discs and mobile phones of the arrested IS sympathisers of the Coimbatore module. Forensic analysis allegedly revealed many videos of Hashmi indoctrinating and calling youth to join the IS fold.

CERT-In is the national nodal agency for responding to computer security incidents as and when they occur.

In March this year, NIA shared this information with its sister agencies. The input includes details video messages of Hashmi threatening to carry out attacks in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Details of certain calls made from Sri Lanka to Bangladesh were also shared.

Their intelligence on Zahran Hashmi was subsequently developed by RAW which then shared specific intelligence on a possible attack on Catholic Churches and Indian High Commission to their counterparts in Sri Lanka.

Government sources have also confirmed that the agencies once again warned Sri Lanka of “big attack” in April.

NIA probe has revealed that the local ISIS – WILAYA module (active mainly in the southern states — Tamil Nadu, Kerala) was allegedly in touch with the sympathisers in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

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