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Five years later: Sri Lanka still seeks justice for victims of Easter Sunday bombings

Justice remains elusive for the 290 people who lost their lives in the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka, as the fifth anniversary of the tragedy approaches and calls for accountability persist. 

Despite the time elapsed, the demands for justice from the Sri Lankan people continue, with little closure achieved.

The bombings on April 21, 2019, involved explosions at several churches and international hotels, leaving a nation in mourning and demanding answers and accountability. 

The local church, led by Colombo’s Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, has been vocal in calling for an independent investigation into the attacks, insisting on international community involvement to ensure transparency and justice.

In an interview with Vatican News, Oblate Father Rohan Silva, the executive director of Colombo’s Centre for Society and Religion, expressed frustration over the lack of progress in achieving justice. 

He highlighted multiple investigative efforts, including the Malalgoda report and findings from various commissions, which have failed to bring about substantial resolutions. 

According to him, these investigations have been hampered by political interference and a lack of thorough inquiry, leaving many questions unanswered and justice unmet.

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“Despite numerous investigative reports and commissions, the truth behind the attacks and the extent of the conspiracy remains unclear,” said Father Silva.

The priest pointed out that prior intelligence warnings had indicated a threat, yet adequate measures were not taken to prevent the attacks. 

This oversight has raised suspicions of political motivations influencing the response to the intelligence, potentially for electoral gains.

“We believe the president was informed, but he says he was not,” he said. 

Amid ongoing economic struggles and political instability, Father Silva emphasized the need for continued efforts towards impartial investigations and accountability, regardless of political affiliations. 

He argued that achieving justice is crucial for healing and reconciliation among Sri Lanka’s diverse communities.

The Catholic Church, according to Father Silva, plays a key role in fostering interfaith dialogue and preventing further division and violence. 

He recounted how Cardinal Ranjith’s prompt engagement with Muslim leaders following the attacks helped prevent further bloodshed and maintained communal harmony.

“When the massacre took place there could have been bloodshed in the country,” he said. 

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