India on Saturday advised its citizens not to take non-essential visits to Sri Lanka which is in a state of emergency after Easter Sunday bombings by IS in which over
250 people died.
In the advisory, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said those requiring to undertake emergency travels can contact the High Commission of India in Colombo, the
Assistant High Commission in Kandy as well as Consulates in Hambantota and Jaffna for any assistance.
"In view of the prevailing security situation in Sri Lanka in the aftermath of terror attacks on April 21, Indian nationals intending to travel to Sri Lanka are
advised not to undertake non-essential travel," it said. "In case of those undertaking essential/emergency travels, they can contact the High Commission of India in
Colombo or the Assistant High Commission in Kandy / Consulates in Hambantota and Jaffna in case of requirement of any assistance," the MEA added.
The MEA said Sri Lanka has beefed up security in the country but a nation-wide emergency including night time curfew has been in place which may affect travel within Sri Lanka.
Nine suicide bombers carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and three luxury hotels on the Easter Sunday, killing 253 people.
The Islamic State claimed the attacks, but the government has blamed local Islamist extremist group National Thowheeth Jamath (NTJ).
Reports said the security forces have arrested over 100 and the Government has banned NTJ.
Zulflick Farzan of News First, Lanka told NDTV that people are living in fear because this kind of terrorism is new and the enemy is unknown unlike the Tamil Tigers who fought a separatist war for 30 years.
An anti-insurgency expert said that the LTTE never worked for any agency unlike Islamist who have a global network.
Anti-terrorism expert Ajai Sahni told NDTV that Sri Lanka National Towheeth Jama’ath has headquarters in Colombo and presence in Batticaloa. He said it is a registered entity . It may be communal entity known for hate speeches, but there is no evidence of its links with IS. No evidence also to show that it has the wherewithal to assemble explosives and carry out a well-coordinated attack nationwide.
Sahni also said Tamil Nadu Towheeth Jama’ath has close links with the Sri Lanka Jama’ath. But neither has had any terrorist record.
He said the Sri Lankan Government has arrested 24 persons, raided a safe house, seized detonators. Now it is investigating external assistance.