Cardinal wants independent commission to probe Easter attacks

Colombo’s Catholic Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith is calling on the top political leadership to come together and appoint an independent commission to investigate the Easter Sunday attacks and ensure justice for the victims.

The Cardinal told reporters in Colombo today July 31 that this future commission should ensure that “nothing is swept under the carpet,” and the findings are made public.

He said that three months after the Easter attacks the various commissions and committees of inquiry that have been appointed are only serving either the President or the Prime Minister.

The Cardinal charged that those “who conspired to carry out the attacks, those who had intelligence that these attacks were coming and allowed them to happen, some who were taken into custody and set free without proper investigation, are roaming free.”

“We can see that there are efforts to hide facts, and we find fault in both the government and the opposition for this state of affairs,” the Cardinal said. “What is happening is that the opposition and the government are merely trying to score points off this tragedy. They are all covering up for each other. The politics is preventing our people from getting justice,” he said.

He called on President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa to come together and appoint the commission.

He pointed out that in the past there had been many such commissions of inquiry but the findings have not been revealed and justice has not been meted out.

The President appointed a committee of inquiry into the Easter attacks and promised the results would be made public, but we are yet to see that report, he said.

“We are yet to see the result of many inquiries and they include the Rathupaswela incident and the death of Roshen Chanaka,” Ranjith said.

Both incidents that occurred during the previous Rajapaksa administration resulted in the deaths of civilians protesting government decisions at the hands of the security forces.

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The Cardinal went on to say that before talking of elections these political leaders should appoint this commission of inquiry.

He said that he would not meet any candidate who has not taken steps to appoint an independent commission.

“We don’t want elections we want justice,” he said.

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