The Police yesterday blamed the organizers of Sunday s Sinhala New Year celebrations at Weliweriya, where a suicide bomber blew himself up killing Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle and 14 others, including National athletic coach Lakshman de Alwis and Marathon Karu , for not ensuring tighter security arrangements at the venue.
Police investigations found that security arrangements had not been what they should have been for the visit of a government politician.
The minister had visited the venue of the celebration at 6.30 in the morning, to flag off the marathon, but as the organizers were not ready he had left and returned at around 7.30 a.m. when the bomb exploded. Police are investigating the reason behind the event being delayed. The minister had not checked whether proper security arrangements were in place and was seen moving freely among the people.
Police said the Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle had not been cautioned and a senior minister like him should not have been the chief guest of a village new year function, a police source said. A local politician or a senior police officer could have taken that place.
The suicide cadre had given a Muslim name when he entered for the marathon and stated his residence was Valachchenai, in the East. A police team was dispatched to the area to check the address to ascertain whether the assassin was actually a resident there, sources said.
He is said to have approached the venue from the cemetery side in Weliweriya and had stood behind the minister before he set off the explosive device sources said.
Although posters had been put up with the name of Fernandopulle as the chief guest of the function the assassin apparently had information that the minister would be arriving at Weliweriya early in the morning.
How the assassin came to the venue with an explosive device without being detected was a riddle.
Different possibilities were being weighed by the investigators and one was whether he came in as a coach and another was whether he came in the guise of a journalist covering the event.
Three police teams including the CID have been deployed to find out where the assassin had stayed on the previous day.
The SSP Gampaha escaped death as a party supporter had pushed him aside and moved close to minister Fernandopulle seconds before the explosion took place. The CID is scanning the video tapes made by the TV camera crews to identify the assassin, police said.