Colombo: A Sri Lankan Buddhist monk, who was controversially released from jail, has claimed that a Tamil Nadu-based Islamic organisation had inspired the local Islamist extremist group NTJ for carrying out the country’s worst terror attack on Easter Sunday. Earlier this month, the Sri Lankan Army chief said that some of the suicide bombers visited Kashmir and Kerala for “some sorts of training” or to “make some more links” with other foreign outfits. Nine suicide bombers carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and as many luxury hotels on April 21, killing nearly 260 people and injuring 500 others.

Hardline Buddhist monk Galagodaatte Gnanasara, speaking to reporters on Friday, said that two Tamil Nadu Thowheeth Jamaath (TNTJ) men — Ayub and Abdeen — visited Sri Lanka. “They met one Abdul Razik here. The idea was to provoke Buddhists to attack Muslims. They spread stories derogatory of the Buddha,” Gnanasara said. The hardline Buddhist monk was addressing the media for the first time since President Maithripala Sirisena ordered his release using a presidential pardon. He was sentenced to six year imprisonment for contempt of court in August last year. Due to Sirisena’s pardon, he was released from the jail after spending nine months behind bars.