Photo of Eastern Provincial Council Governor M.L.A.M. Hizbulla is out in which he is shaking hands with Zahran Hashim, the ring leader of April 21 Easter Sunday terrorist attacks during elections in 2015.
In the photo, Hizbulla is posing with NTJ leader Zahran who was one of the two suicide bombers of Shangrila Hotel. The man sitting next to Zahran in the photo is believed Mohammed Hasthun the suicide bomber of St. Sebastian church in Katuwapitiya.
Hizbulla has not rejected the photo but he says he sought support of Zahran’s movement National Touheed Jamaath (NTJ) now banned in Sri Lanka. NTJ was strong in all-Muslim eastern town Kattankudi and ran a de-facto rule there. Hizbulla says he was not extended support by NTJ in elections because they accused him of violating the agreement with NTJ. The violation included use of loud speakers to propagate a rally by him in the town.
Hizbulla lost the election but President Maithripala Sirisena appointed him to the parliament via the national list of Sri Lanka Freedom Party. He was later appointed as the Governor of Eastern Province.
NTJ became popular among the Muslims in the town by propagating petty disciplinary campaigns like standing against alcohol and smokes etc. They propagated militant Wahabism and ultimately committed so-called Jihad killing over 250 peoples in a series of bomb blasts.
However, Zahran and his gang was expelled from the town after they clashed with the minority Sufi community in the town.