The Sri Lankan police Friday issued a correction after incorrectly identifying a US-based activist as a suspect in the Easter Sunday blasts in the country that killed over 250 people. However, after facing severe backlash, the police deleted their Twitter account later in the day.
The police had released photos of six suspects, including three women, wanted for their involvement in the attacks and sought information regarding them from the public. One of the pictures was of Amara Majeed, from Maryland, which was shared and identified as Abdul Cater Fathima Khadhiya, a suspected terrorist.
Majeed took to social media to call out the error. "I have this morning been FALSELY identified by the Sri Lankan government as one of the ISIS terrorists that have committed the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka," she tweeted Thursday.
Hello everyone! I have this morning been FALSELY identified by the Sri Lankan government as one of the ISIS terrorists that have committed the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka. What a thing to wake up to! (1/1)#SriLankaAttack #SriLanka #SriLankaBlasts
- Amara Majeed (@AmaraMajeed1) April 25, 2019
"This is obviously completely false and frankly, considering that our communities are already greatly afflicted with issues of surveillance, I don’t need more false accusations and scrutiny. Please stop implicating and associating me with these horrific attacks. And next time, be more diligent about releasing such information that has the potential to deeply violate someone’s family and community," she said.
The Sri Lanka police issued a correction soon after, citing the clarifications from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID). "The inpidual whose image was labelled as Abdul Cader Fathima Khadiya is not, in fact, Abdul Cader Fathima Khadiya; The inpidual pictured is not wanted for questioning; Abdul Cader Fathima is the correct name of the suspect wanted by the CID," the correction read.
It deleted the Twitter account later.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena said the police are looking for 140 people believed to have links with the Islamic State group over the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels that killed at least 253 people. Sirisena told reporters some Sri Lankan youths had been involved with the extremist group since 2013, and that top defence and police chiefs had not shared information with him about the impending attacks.
In a statement issued through its propaganda 'Amaq' news agency, the ISIS had earlier claimed responsibility of the attack, saying "the executors of the attack that targeted citizens of coalition states and Christians in Sri Lanka two days ago were with the group."