by Special Correspondent
Last year, a Sri Lankan individual stood resolutely before the special bench of United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, enduring five days of intense scrutiny from the organization’s officials. During this period, he revealed a trove of state secrets, all while his life hung perilously in the balance. His testimony, initially recorded in English, was later translated into Tamil by an individual residing in Europe, and the explosive revelations were unleashed upon the world through the power of social media.
In that compelling statement, the significance of the matters discussed cannot be overstated. However, unfortunately, these revelations initially garnered attention only from a small number of Sri Lankans residing in European nations. Surprisingly, neither Sri Lankan missions abroad nor local authorities demonstrated the expected level of enthusiasm for what was presented as a vital revelation. It was only when this revealing statement started circulating on social media that a specific group of individuals, motivated by an unwavering commitment to uncover the truth, came forward. However, the truth remains that this person is engaging in deceit and attempting to exploit a tragedy for personal benefit.
The self-proclaimed group, in collaboration with this individual who seeks to deceive the public and the international community, has undertaken the task of falsely professing an unwavering pursuit of justice while actively working to obscure the truth behind the brutal Easter 2019 bombings perpetrated by Saharan and his IS-inspired followers, all for their personal gain. They refute the malicious falsehood that Sri Lankan security forces are culpable for war crimes, a slanderous narrative propagated by a network with deep-rooted connections in media organizations worldwide, including the United Kingdom. Some members of this network have transitioned into running private public relations firms, where they carefully craft and choreograph the entire narrative.
The protagonist of our narrative, who divulged his testimony before the Special Committee of the United Nations Human Rights Council over the course of five critical days, unwittingly became the catalyst for this concerted smear campaign against Sri Lanka. His narrative aligns seamlessly with the narrative propagated by the Catholic Church, including prominent figures like the Cardinal, who fail to comprehend the underlying realities of Islamic fundamentalism and the dire consequences it has wrought. They dismiss the Easter attack as mere political intrigue. This individual is introduced as Azad Maulana, yet his true identity remains Mohamed Hanseer, with “Azad Maulana” being a moniker bestowed upon him by Karuna Amman, also known as Vinayagamurthi Muralidaran.
Remarkably, the Sri Lankan security forces, like many other armies, strategically identified numerous individuals during the clashes between Karuna, the breakaway faction against the LTTE. Such strategic manoeuvring is a common tactic employed by all sides during times of war to suppress their adversaries. Sri Lanka bears a grim history where some Sinhalese individuals were radicalized by the LTTE’s ideology, conspiring to sabotage passenger planes in mid-flight—a largely overlooked and chilling chapter in our nation’s past. Tragically, when these suspects are apprehended, they promptly don the guise of human rights activists or social reformers. This tragicomic transformation is hailed as heroism in foreign lands, providing a haven for these disguised predators to thrive. In truth, those who thrive off the suffering of others are nothing less than ruthless criminals.
In this light, it is imperative to scrutinize Azad Maulana’s narrative and the calculated commercialization of his fabricated tale. Maulana undoubtedly invested significant effort in crafting his script, likely with support from various clandestine quarters. Crucially, he chose to tether his activities to the alleged Easter attacks rather than his previous exploits, which included extortion and child soldier recruitment. He is, quite literally, a cunning and unscrupulous trickster.
Maulana keenly grasped that intelligence agencies would guarantee the notoriety of the Easter attack. He recognized that the crimes committed by the LTTE and its offshoots had diminished their marketability in the European sphere. However, there is a theory suggesting that the Easter attack was a conspiracy involving eight affluent Muslim youths from upper-middle-class families, with the aim of facilitating Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s takeover of the country. This itself is a matter of general knowledge. However, Maulana appeared to understand how to manipulate this dynamic all too well.
Born in 1983, Azad Maulana hails from the Maradamunei area of Ampara district. His father, a politician affiliated with Vardaraja Perumal, met a tragic end in India. Maulana’s adeptness in broadcasting his life on social media is nothing short of remarkable.
Following his graduation from the University of Peradeniya, Maulana served as the private secretary to Shankar, who held the esteemed position of Chairman of the Cashew Corporation, a subsidiary under the purview of Douglas Devananda’s ministry. It was through Shankar’s guidance that Maulana found his way into Karuna’s fold, a fateful encounter that would ultimately alter the course of his life and the destiny of a nation.
Maulana’s journey is one fraught with deception and betrayal. When he first aligned himself with the Karuna faction, he was a married man residing in a rented house in Panadura. At the outset, his monthly salary amounted to a mere six thousand rupees, supplemented by a two-thousand-rupee transportation allowance courtesy of the Karuna faction. Six months down the line, his salary saw a generous bump to ten thousand rupees, and he was gifted a motorcycle for his transportation needs. However, as the power struggle between Karuna and Pillayan unfolded, Maulana switched allegiances, throwing his lot in with Pillayan’s camp. It was during this period that his focus veered sharply towards swindling money and pursuing romantic interests.
A litany of complaints against Maulana piled up in police stations across Akkarapattu, Valachchena, and Wellawatta, all echoing tales of his financial dupery and amorous escapades. He even dared to flout the country’s marriage laws by allegedly entering into a fraudulent double marriage with a teacher residing in the Saindamaradu area. Furthermore, following Pillayan’s ascendancy to the position of Chief Minister in the Eastern Province, Maulana stands accused of deceitfully promising jobs to local residents, only to exploit their desperation for his own gain. Reports suggest that he even provided a sum of fifty lakhs for Pillaiyan’s legal defence. It was only after this incident that Pillayan’s faction realized the extent of Maulana’s deception.
Yet, one particularly egregious allegation against Maulana involves defrauding a certain Valachchena family of a staggering sum of Rs.1 crore, promising them a life abroad. Instead, they were duped into purchasing refurbished bicycles from Japan, marking a large-scale fraud. A cursory examination of his assets would easily expose the true nature of this individual. After serving as Pillayan’s press secretary for several years, Maulana found himself cornered, facing impending legal proceedings for his financial misdeeds. His only recourse was to flee the country under the pretext of seeking political asylum, a ruse designed to mislead unsuspecting authorities. This cunning ploy is the very reason he purports a connection between the intelligence agencies and the Easter attack.
Maulana’s narrative cunningly aligns with the broader agendas of groups including certain members in the Catholic Church and self-proclaimed human rights activists. It finds reinforcement in the previous statements made by individuals like Inspector of Police (IP) Nishantha Silva, currently residing in Switzerland and formally involved in criminal investigations in Sri Lanka. This fabrication, concocted by Maulana, thus acquires a disturbing financial value. However, those who perpetuate these falsehoods do an immense disservice to the nation of their birth, for they are straying far from the path of ethics and morality.
Azad Maulana has masterfully manipulated this incident to serve his dual objectives. Firstly, it provided him the means to mask his myriad indiscretions as a womanizer and serial con artist. Secondly, this audacious lie he peddles has garnered international attention, affording him the crucial political cover he sought. Regrettably, it is Sri Lanka’s reputation that bears the brunt of these unscrupulous individuals. To exploit blatant falsehoods for personal vendettas, under the guise of truth, is a grievous transgression against all principles of morality and humanity.
Azad Maulana, in his statement, deliberately makes Major General Suresh Sallay a pawn in his strategic game. This seems to be a calculated move, derived from an assessment of the socio-political dynamics surrounding the Catholic Church in the aftermath of the Easter attack. According to Maulana, Saharan and Pillayan crossed paths while incarcerated in Batticaloa. It was there that Saharan’s brother, Rilwan, allegedly cast doubt on Maulana’s adherence to true Islam, as per his statement. Subsequently, according to Maulana, Pillayan accompanied him to meet Major General Suresh Sallay in Habarana, Kurunegala where Sallay imparted certain instructions.
Notably, many of the events referenced by Maulana did indeed occur during that period. However, his accounts differ significantly from established facts, as he weaves a web of narratives to suit his ulterior motives. This consummate trickster has brazenly distorted the truth to serve his own interests.
Two glaring examples stand as evidence of his Machiavellian machinations. Firstly, Maulana confesses to a litany of murders, allegedly perpetrated by Pillaiyan’s political party, totalling a staggering 120 deaths, including prominent figures like Raviraj, Lasantha Wickramatunga, and Pragith Eknaligoda. Yet, he fails to provide any credible evidence to substantiate these grave accusations, leaving any discerning listener to harbour doubts.
Equally dubious is Maulana’s claim of a meeting with Saharan and his associates in Puttalam. He alleges that he travelled to Puttalam with General Suresh Sallay and witnessed the acquisition of land for training suicide bombers. However, it’s worth noting that during the time of the incident Maulana describes, Suresh Sallay was stationed at the Sri Lankan High Commission in Malaysia. Curiously, Saharan’s wife, Hadiya, has offered a parallel account of this incident on multiple occasions. According to her, Saharan journeyed to Puttalam urgently to meet a Colombo-based lawyer named LLB. Despite the gravity of this statement, it has failed to capture the attention of the Catholic Church or any other responsible authority.
Azad Maulana has embarked on a path of deception and manipulation, exploiting falsehoods for personal gain while tarnishing Sri Lanka’s reputation. His fabrications have found resonance with certain groups and individuals, who, in their quest for their own agendas, perpetuate these untruths at great cost to the nation. It is a transgression against the very essence of humanity to employ such blatant lies to settle personal scores, all the while masquerading as champions of truth and justice.
Furthermore, Maulana’s claim of meeting former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa when he was a candidate during the presidential election in Mirihana warrants scrutiny. While the axiom “seeing is believing” often holds true, it’s essential to provide context. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, during his presidential election campaign, engaged with various groups as part of his political strategy. As one such step, representatives from the political party associated with Pillai also met Maithripala Sirisena. It remains unconfirmed whether there was any interaction with Saharan or his associates during these meetings. However, it is factual that Maulana was present at one such meeting. As mentioned previously, Maulana has since exploited this encounter to his advantage in a distasteful manner, exemplifying how international entities, including the United Nations, leverage Sri Lanka to serve their interests, a pattern that has persisted for an extended period. Had this not been the case, individuals like Anton Balasingham, who served as the theoretician of the LTTE, would not have found employment at the United Kingdom High Commission in Sri Lanka.
This raises an important question for the residents of this country, regardless of their religious affiliation. Can we unequivocally assert that there is no risk of Islamic fundamentalism spreading within our nation? Are there no factions exploiting the Easter attack for political gain? Are you aware that certain groups are attempting, albeit unsuccessfully, to implicate individuals and organizations completely unrelated to the Easter attacks, while the true culprits continue to evade justice? Through channels like Channel 4 and others, they are merely engaging in a futile charade. None of these deceitful actors possess the genuine intent to deliver justice to the victims of the Easter attack. It would be unwise to expect anything more from Channel 4.
In the face of these challenges, it falls upon the citizens of this nation to remain vigilant, discerning fact from fiction, and demanding accountability from those entrusted with safeguarding our collective well-being.
To be continued
Source: Sri Lanka Guardian/ Ceylon Today