ECONOMYNEXT – The head of Sri Lanka’s Catholic church, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, has cast doubt over the integrity of a police probe into a hand grenade found in a Colombo church.
The grenade was discovered at All Saints Church, Borella, on Tuesday (11), three days before Catholics in Sri Lanka marked the 1,000th day since the 2019 Easter bombings.
The caretaker of the All Saints church has been arrested in connection with the incident.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday (13), Cardinal Ranjith claimed that police had been reluctant to review the CCTV footage from the church premises for Tuesday in its entirety.
Quoting the parish priest, the Archbishop of Colombo said the police had only requested footage recorded after 3pm that day.
“I asked the parish priest to check the footage from morning. This revealed a new piece of evidence. At 9.52am that same day, a person can be seen entering the church with a plastic bag. From the way he did the sign of the cross, we could tell he was not a Catholic.
“He doesn’t stop to pray, but walks to the end of the pews, where he can be seen doing something and bending over a statue in the corner. Then he takes something from his pants or his pocket. Police hasn’t viewed this footage. Why did they only look from 3pm onwards?” said the cardinal.
Describing the CCTV footage further, the archbishop said the caretaker of the church who had been on cleaning duty can be seen happening upon whatever that was there near the statue in the corner
”He bends over and picks something up and puts it on top. We can presume it was what the other person had left on the ground.”
“Certain aspects here indicate to us that the police investigation is without truth. We have reason to believe the bomb was placed there in the morning. Who brought it here? Without investigating that, the police has arrested the cleaner who is easily afraid,” said the cardinal.
Cardinal Ranjith has been increasingly and harshly critical of the government over what he claims is its lethargy in investigating the Easter bombings, and has even gone as far as to suggest a conspiracy.
The hand grenade incident came days after he had yet again hinted at the possibility that the attack was politically motivated.
He claimed there was no attempt by the police to uncover the truth behind what transpired on Tuesday.
“If there were, they would’ve looked at the footage from morning. We completely reject this course of action by the police and request a proper probe,” he said.
“I see this as a conspiracy,” he added. (Colombo/Jan14/2022)