ECONOMYNEXT – The head of Catholic church, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Monday accused Sri Lanka’s government of “deal politics” which he said undermined his faith in the investigation into the Easter Sunday.
Asked if he was satisfied with the progress of inquiries, the Cardinal told reporters at the Archbishop’s House in Colombo that political wheeler-dealing appeared to be obscuring efforts to bring perpetrators to justice.
He referred to the manner in which the government secured the support of Muslim legislators to ensure a two-thirds majority for the 20th amendment and warned that the government should not take him for a fool.
“A few days before seven Muslim MPs voted for the 20th amendment, (former minister) Rishard Bathiudeen’s brother was released from custody…. When I raised this issue, the government said there was no connection (to the 20th amendment)
“But, we saw the way they voted. Especially, to support a person who came to power saying he did not want the votes of Muslims. There is a saying “කොන්ඩය බැඳපු චීනුන්ට කියන්න “ (tell it to the Chinese with a ponytail) Do they think we are “කොන්ඩය බැඳපු චීනු” (Usually a derogatory term referring to a dimwit)
The cardinal said ad hoc arrests and releases will not inspire confidence in the investigations into the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks that killed 269 and wounded over 500 people.
However, he said the church was willing to give more time for the authorities to identify all those behind the attack and bring them to justice.
Asked about the April 21 deadline he had issued earlier for the government to show results or risk Catholics being asked to take to the streets to protest, the Cardinal said it was not a strict deadline, but an aim.
“April 21 was only terminus ad quem,” he said.
He also said that his remarks on Sunday saying that the Easter bombings were not a result of Islamic extremism had been “misunderstood.”
He said Islamic extremism was still very much a threat in the country.
He also said his reference to “political forces” behind the attack was a meant to describe “international” elements and not those in the country.
“Our brethren were attacked not by (Islamic) religious extremism, but by a group that exploited it to use the attackers as pawns in order to strengthen their political power.”
“What we see in this (Easter Sunday attack) is not religious fanaticism or a love for a religion, but the attempts of certain forces to consolidate their position,” he said on Sunday. (COLOMBO, April 19, 2021)