Colombo: Thirty-two Sri Lankans have joined the Islamic State terror group in Iraq, a senior minister informed parliament on Friday and vowed to implement the proposed tough counter terrorism Act to protect national security.
"We are aware that 32 of them have left the country to join Islamic State (ISIS)," Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha said during the 2017 budget debate.
Rajapaksha said Sri Lanka would go ahead as planned on the proposed Counter Terrorism Act despite criticism.
"We know that there is criticism on the proposed act but we have to consider our security interests. You may call it draconian but we will implement it," Rajapaksha said.
He said some vested interests were trying to create instability in the country by igniting communal clashes. We have to deal with this situation, Rajapaksha said.
Some groups were trying to brand the northern criminal group Ava as the LTTE. We have to be alert on these actions to create problems in the north, he said.
The police have arrested over a dozen of alleged Ava group members accused of perpetrating violence in the north. All of them have been placed under remand custody.
The locals and Tamil groups have levelled criticism on the proposed anti-terrorism bill.
The main Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) described it as more draconian than the existing Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA)....