Asia Sri Lanka

Employee of IT Firm Virtusa Arrested in Sri Lanka Over Suspected Links to Attacks

COLOMBO — Sri Lankan police on Friday said they had arrested an employee of information technology services company Virtusa Corp in Colombo in connection with Easter Sunday bombings that killed more than 250 people.

The Virtusa employee was arrested on April 27th, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told Reuters, adding the action was taken “as part of the ongoing investigations” into the attacks.

A spokeswoman for the Massachusetts-headquartered company confirmed the arrest, but did not say why the employee was arrested.

“We have been informed by the authorities that one of our employees has been taken into custody,” Julianne Garry, Virtusa’s chief marketing officer, said in an emailed response to a Reuters query about the arrest at its Colombo office.

“In light of recent events, we have enacted enhanced security protocols. We have been engaged with local authorities related to the safety of our employees.”

Authorities had conducted a search at Virtusa’s Colombo office this week, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. The sources did not want to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Sri Lanka has detained dozens of suspects after several suicide bombings on Easter Sunday targeted churches and hotels. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, following which security was stepped up across the island. 

The country’s army commander Mahesh Senanayake said the threat of more extremist militant attacks had been contained and the security services had dismantled most of the network linked to the Easter Sunday bombings.

Meanwhile the Muslim community in Sri Lanka are subject to harassment and duress in several parts of the country, several community leaders noted in a press conference held in Colombo.

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader and Minister Rauff Hakeem said it’s clear that the country is slowly returning to normal. However, he added that an unnecessary culture of fear is being propagated by some media. If a search operation were conducted island wide, there will likely be more seizures of articles kept for protection. But the focus now happens to be on areas where Muslim live. Media has a role in portraying these with fairness, Minister Rauff Hakeem said.

United National Party parliamentarian S.M. Marikkar said in parliament that the current searches and sudden confiscation of ‘swords and daggers’ by security forces were shown by media near Muslim owned premises,to conjure a different story. He said that the terrorists came with ‘bombs and ammunition’, so sudden capture of such swords and daggers and showing a mosque which had nothing to do with it, seems to be part of a bigger plan to marginalize the Muslims which the media wanted to portray.

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