There is no evidence of suspects linked to the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka having travelled to Indian cities in recent years, according to official Indian sources.
Last week, Sri Lanka’s Army Commander said Zahran Hashim, alleged mastermind of the Easter Sunday terror attacks in Sri Lanka, likely transited Tamil Nadu when he travelled to other Indian cities. Top security officials also said they believe Hashim and some other suspects travelled to Bengaluru, Kashmir and parts of Kerala in late 2018.
However, official Indian sources said the Army Commander had not shared any information with them.
“We are seeking further information to probe the angle,” a source said, asking not to be identified due to the sensitivity of ongoing investigations. The reference to suspects travelling to India recently was at best “speculative”, the source added. However, Indian records have revealed that two of the suicide bombers, Insaf Ibrahim and Ilham Ibrahim, visited India in 2012 on a business visa. The two are sons of a prominent Sri Lankan spice exporter who, according to sources close the family, has had long-standing trade links with India, especially Kerala.
Following the April 21 Easter attacks, which Sri Lankan authorities said were carried out by two local radical Islamist groups, investigators are probing how they might have come in contact with the IS, which has also claimed the attacks.
Serial blasts rocked Colombo, nearby Negombo and Batticaloa on the island’s east coast, killing over 250 people, including 45 children. Nine suicide bombers, allegedly led by Zahran Hashim of Batticaloa, and including a woman, were identified by officials as chiefly responsible.