ECONOMYNEXT – Political posturing and a cynical need to safeguard alliances has impeded a transparent inquiry into Sri Lanka’s 2019 Easter bombings, Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said.
Speaking at a ceremony held this morning (21) marking the two-year anniversary of the deadly attack, the Cardinal said the Catholic community will continue to agitate for justice, truth and transparency.
The ceremony, held at St Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade, was attended by families of the victims, members of the clergy representing all major faiths, members of the diplomatic community, and others.
“The events that occurred and the 269 people who died in these events revealed to us an ailment that is eating into Sri Lankan society, an ailment of mistrust between races and religions. The need for us to unite emerges very clearly,” said Ranjith.
The archbishop said the perpetrators of the attack didn’t single out one community but chose instead to cause the death of people of various faiths and ethnicity.
“We have to examine why [ring leader of the terror outfit Zaharan Hashim] did not blast himself inside a church but chose to do so in a hotel, killing not only Catholics and Christians but so many others including Muslims and Malays,” he said.
Ranjith noted that, true to the Christian spirit, the church and the Catholic community prevented further violence and disturbances in the wake of the attack that could’ve ended up targeting Sri Lanka’s Muslim community.
“A few days after the attack, there was an attempt made to rouse up the Muslim community against the Sinhalese. We got involved and prevented any further disturbances on that occasion too,” he said, adding that the Muslims have yet to reciprocate by loudly demanding justice for the Easter Sunday victims.
Calling for the discontinuation of educational institutes that promote Wahhabism in Sri Lanka, the Cardinal asked the Muslims community not to become a tool of global political forces.
“I wish to make a special appeal to our Muslim brothers. Understand the global situation, and that such organised crimes are not necessarily in your favour. Rise up to defend yourself from those who try to instrumentalise Islam for their own purposes,” he said.
The Carinal reiterated the church’s commitment to seeking justice for the victims and for uncovering the truth. A peaceful walk is to be held this evening with the participation of Buddhist monks, he said.
“We assure those who died and are suffering that we will never abandon you and we will continue our struggle until a comprehensive investigation is conducted and those responsible have been brought to book,” said Ranjith.
“Afterward we will discuss the need to pardon those who have attacked these innocent people,” he said. (Colombo/Apr21/2021)