Home Equality & Justice Sri Lankans mark anniversary of Easter bombings with protest

Sri Lankans mark anniversary of Easter bombings with protest

The protesters reiterated calls for the government to uncover the truth behind the 2019 attacks

Thousands of Sri Lankans gathered for a protest action on Friday, April 21, to mark the anniversary of the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings that killed at least 250 people and injured more than 500 others.

The protesters reiterated calls for the government to uncover the truth behind the attacks on two Catholic churches, an evangelical Christian church, three luxury hotels, a housing complex, and a guest house.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo expressed “regret” over the government’s alleged failure to investigate those behind the bombings, saying that the government should interrogate the country’s intelligence officials.

“We have a question about how the seventh bomber named Jameel killed himself despite the opportunity to save his life,” said the cardinal, referring to one of the attackers.

“Did he explode himself or someone else blasted him with a remote control? We have a question in this regard,” he added.

The government has alleged that the eight “suicide bombers” were linked to the so-called Islamic State.

Cardinal Ranjith has questioned the government’s narrative of attacks and has consistently called for an international investigation.

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“We need a new and transparent investigation to find out why the repeated warnings preceding the attacks were not taken seriously to understand why the suicide bomber who blew himself up in Dehiwela was allowed to do so, because he has not been arrested,” said the cardinal.

Thousands of people, including Catholic priests, lined up in a silent protest on both sides of a road that links the shrine of St Anthony in Kochchikade in Colombo to the St Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya.

They held up placards that read “No justice has been done to the victims,”’ “Where is the mastermind behind the Easter Sunday attack?” “Dirty politics must end,” and “Let us be vigilant until justice is done.”

“We have organized this human chain to demonstrate that our people are more powerful than their politics,” said Catholic priest Jude Chrishantha, communications director of the Diocese of Colombo.

“We ask the government to listen to the message that comes from the silent hearts of the victims,” added the priest.

“I see people not only demanding justice for the Easter attack, but also demanding solutions for our country which is succumbing to this shameful policy,” he said.

In an earlier statement, Cardinal Ranjith said incidents of violence and religious and inter-ethnic conflicts have ignored the principles of the rule of law and justice.

“This corrupt political culture adopts the strategy of making people forget all these crimes,” said the prelate. He urged the people “to show that we will not stop our efforts to expose these evil methods.”

“We are convinced that if we abandon this commitment we will set a bad precedent for the country,” said Cardinal Ranjith.

He said the country “has a deeply corrupt political power base,” and it is “the context in which it is necessary to discover the truth behind the Easter attacks and bring the masterminds and criminals behind them to justice.”

“Four years have passed, yet it has not yet been possible to identify the perpetrators and bring those responsible to justice,” said the cardinal. – with a report from AsiaNews

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