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Dayasiri questions Cardinal’s remarks, says he’s politically compromised

ECONOMYNEXT – A scathing attack launched by Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday against former President Maithripala Sirisena was criticised by Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) General Secretary MP Dayasiri Jayasekara today.

Jayasekara told reporters this afternoon that the Archbishop’s diatribe show that he is politically compromised.

Speaking to reporters outside St Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade yesterday following the Easter Sunday service, a visibly irate Cardinal was harshly critical of the former president and his failure to prevent the 2019 Easter bombings.

Responding to Ranjith’s remarks, Jayasekara said the former has misunderstood the contents of the report compiled by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) that probed the bombings.

“Nobody has convicted the former president. The commission report has merely recommended that the Attorney General’s department consider the possibility of a case being filed against him,” he said.

“I’m sorry that [the Cardinal] has not understood this correctly. In our country, a person is innocent until proven guilty,” he added.

The PCoI, in fact, recommended that criminal proceedings be instituted against Sirisena and a number of others. The PCoI noted that he had departed to to India and Singapore in the days preceding the deadly April 21 attack without appointing an acting Minister of Defence despite possessing knowledge of a possible threat from the perpetrators.

“Based on the evidence, the COI is of the view that there is criminal liability on his part for the acts or omissions explained above. The COI recommends that the Attorney General consider instituting criminal proceedings against President Sirisena under any suitable provision in the Penal Code,” it said.

Stressing that it was not Sirisena who planned the attack, Jayasekara said the masterminds must be found.

“We will not give up our fight until then,” he said.

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The Kurunegala district MP claimed that “various forces” are trying to destroy the SLFP at a time when the party is on a mission to remerge.

“There is a lot of politics behind [the Cardinal’s] statement. What we need to ask what is behind it,” he said. (Colombo/Apr05/2021)

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