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POSTED AT 12:56 PM 11-03-2019

Minister Kabir Hashim’s CS injured in a shooting

A police investigation is in progress to ascertain whether Minister Kabir Hashim's Coordinating Secretary (CS) Mohamed Naslim was shot by a religious extremist group over his cooperation with police in the conduct of inquiries into instances where Buddhist statues in the area were damaged recently.

The Mawanella police said that Mr. Naslim had been admitted to the Kandy Teaching Hospital after being shot by two persons who broke into his house in Danagama in Mawanella on Saturday (9) .

Police said that two persons who came on a black motorbike had fled after shooting Mr. Naslim in the head. The coordinating secretary who is a 37-year-old father of three, was shot at his home while he was asleep. His wife and his youngest son were also at home at the time the shooting took place.

Police said he had been shot with a 9 mm pistol and a pistol cartridge (mm. 9) had been found under his pillow that he was sleeping on at the time he was shot.

A senior police officer said that Mr. Naslim had assisted the special police team that was deployed to investigate the incidents of vandalism of Buddhist statues in the area. He had contested for the Mawanella Pradeshiya Sabha during the last local government election. The police officer said that investigations are focussing on whether this shooting was the work of an extremist religious group due to the assistance given by him to help apprehend the culprits who vandalised the Buddhist statues or if it was persons who had a personal grudge against him.

Although he had been admitted to Mawanella hospital initially, he was transferred to the ICU of the Kandy Teaching Hospital because of the severity of injuries, police said.

The police came to know that he had kept the back door of his house open because goats he kept had been pilfered during the night time from his garden. Police suspect that the shooters had entered his house through that door. They said a neighbour had had told them that they saw two persons who came on a black motorcycle riding away on the day the shooting took place. CCTV footage taken from cameras situated on premises in the vicinity confirmed this.

The investigations are being carried out under the directions of Kegalle Division DIG Palitha Siriwardene while another police team coming under Crime Investigations Unit of the Kegalle Division OIC IP G.R.J.R Abhayaratna was also conducting a separate inquiry.

So far, no information there has been no breakthrough in their investigations, police said.

Mawanella Divisional Secretary, Priyangani Pethangoda (Ms) said that Mr. Naslim had acted without racial bias for the benefit of the public and was a social activist who had organized a ceremony in Danagama area to commemorate Independence Day as well.

Srinath Prasanna Jayasuriya and Pradeep Kumara

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