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Sad and angry youth leaders call for justice

A young woman stood on a little wall on the pavement of Galle Road opposite the Taj Hotel in Colombo on Saturday (22).

On her right was a huge cloth banner with the names of the innocents killed in the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks on Churches and Hotels.

They mourned the dead, and they called for justice for the victims.

“There is one thing we must learn from this tragedy. For our leaders, we are not their number one priority. When this attack happened they wanted to pass Rs. 500 million to buy bullet-proof luxury cars,” she pointed out.

The latest victim to die from the attacks J K Chrisentia Perera from Katuwapitiya succumbed to a serious head injury on Friday.

She never got the Rs 500,000 promised to her as compensation by Parliament.

The young woman speaker was one of more than a dozen people who addressed the gathering organized by a collection of youth groups, two months and a day after the seven suicide bombers struck three churches and three hotels killing over 250 people.

They were led by Rise Up Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Unites, Deshodaya, MONLAR, Aluth Piyapath, Hashtag Generation and others.

Speaker after speaker talked of the lack of accountability of the leaders of the country for the Easter Sunday attacks.

The called on President Maithripala Sirisena to resign and if he doesn’t do that for Parliament to impeach him.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe too should go, they said. “Pass a motion of No Confidence,” they asked Parliament.  

They must accept responsibility for they have failed to protect the people.

“They knew there was an attack coming. They did nothing,” was the refrain.

There were like-minded groups from 15 districts present there and they called for Sri Lankans to act as responsible citizens.

“We, the people of Sri Lanka pledge to never allow incompetence, corruption, and racism to govern us and cause violence among us,” they vowed.

“We are not politically backed. No political party is backing us,” they asserted.

But the message was very political. Young people, both rural and urban, backed by a few older folks were thinking alike.

They want a new political culture “Change the system,” was the cry.

These groups say that they will be holding meetings with regional organisations in the coming weeks to build a nationwide movement.

That Sri Lankans are disgusted with the politicians is no secret.

How that can translate into action at forthcoming elections is the big question.

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