Sri Lanka’s chief of police has rejected a request from the president to resign following the suicide bombings of churches and hotels, deepening tensions at the highest levels of the government, sources at Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s office said on Saturday.
Faced with criticism of his failure to prevent the attacks, Sirisena charged police chief Brigadier Pujith Jayasundera and Defense Minister Hemasiri Fernando with responsibility for not being informed of advance warnings about the attacks.
The sources said that Fernando resigned last week but Jayasundera remains steadfast.” He refused to resign despite the president’s request,” one source said.
According to the Constitution of Sri Lanka, Parliament is the only body authorized to remove the police chief through lengthy procedures, with the aim of protecting officers from political interference in their work.
The attacks, which have killed more than 250 people, have revealed differences between Siricena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
One such warning was hours before the attacks.
The two officials asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Jayasondara did not respond to phone calls and a letter on his email asking for comment. A police officer said his commander had not submitted his resignation but did not go to work on Saturday.