Sri Lanka MPs defy President to resume Easter attack probe

Sri Lanka’s Parliament on Tuesday defied President Maithripala Sirisena and resumed investigations into security lapses surrounding the Easter suicide bombings that killed 258 people, officials said, as a political crisis in the country deepened.

The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC began hearing testimony from Muslim leaders who claimed they repeatedly alerted the authorities to dangerous radicalisation, a parliamentary official said.

In what appeared to be a tit-for-tat move, Mr. Sirisena did not call the routine weekly Cabinet meeting to discuss the day-to-day running of the administration.

The Opposition Sri Lanka People’s Front said the standoff between the President and the Cabinet, controlled by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s party, meant the government was at a standstill.

“The current standoff effectively means that there is no government in Sri Lanka from today,” Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLPF leader Gamini Lakshman Peiris told reporters in Colombo.

There was no immediate word either from the President or the Prime Minister on why the scheduled cabinet meeting was not held.

Mr. Sirisena had opposed public questioning of military, police and intelligence officials, saying it would compromise national security. The PSC maintains that witnesses were free to give evidence in camera.