“True perpetrators” of Easter Sunday massacres will be brought to book, says Lankan President
Posted on April 21st, 2020

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

US offers to help fight terrorism and the Catholic church reiterates commitment to religious harmony

Colombo, April 21 (newsin.asia): The Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said in his message to make the first anniversary of the Easter Sunday suicide bombings in the island nation that he will identify and bring before the law the true perpetrators” of the massacres.

I will not leave any room for any form of extremism, or violence from any extremists to be unleashed on my people again. I also assure you that the true perpetrators responsible for this Easter Sunday massacres will be identified and brought before the law,” the President said.

It is most unfortunate that the mechanisms that were in place to ensure national security were dismantled (by the then regime). When anarchy prevails, it is only natural for extremism, terrorism and all kinds of violence to raise its despicable head,” Gotabaya added.

I deeply empathize with the families of all those who lost their lives and sustained grave injuries, the Catholic community and entire Sri Lankan citizenry who were terrorized by these horrifying massacres.”

Exactly a year ago, on April 21, 2019 a group of extremists, bent on a macabre agenda unleashed a sequence of terror targeting Catholic churches and tourist hotels. Around 270 people were killed and about 500 were gravely injured in Easter Sunday attacks. Some who survived, later succumbed to their injuries after months of suffering. Some others will be disabled for life.”

Even though Catholics were targeted, this was a terrorist attack against all Sri Lankan citizens. This heinous crime against humanity needs to be condemned by all without any tolerance towards this extremist ideology,” the President said.

In conclusion, he said: I once again commiserate with all those who were adversely affected by the Easter Sunday massacres and all Sri Lankans who were deeply shocked by these barbaric acts.”

Mike Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s Message

In his message, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: Today we mark the anniversary of the terrorist bombings that shattered the peace of Sri Lanka and the world on Easter morning one year ago. These malicious attacks targeted churches and hotels, places where people had gone to worship and to enjoy time together on a holiday. We remember the more than 250 victims of these ISIS-inspired attacks, including five U.S. citizens, and extend our deepest condolences to their families and friends. We stand in solidarity with the survivors of this brutality, and pray for their healing. Just as the Government of Sri Lanka works to hold those involved to account, the United States will not rest in its pursuit of justice for those who commit such atrocities.

Together with our Sri Lankan friends and partners, we reaffirm our shared commitment to countering terrorism while respecting civil liberties, to ensuring sustainable development for all, and to freedom of religion and belief that supports mutual respect.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith

Cardinal Ranjith reiterates Catholic church’s commitment to religious harmony

In his message Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith saidL On this occasion when we commemorate the dead and pray for the wounded of the Easter Sunday bomb attack in April 2019, on its first anniversary, I wish to express our sincere thanks to all those of you who stood by the victims showing your solidarity with them and for assisting them in every way possible. These victims belonged to all ethnic and religious groups in Sri Lanka and included foreigners.”

We honour specially all those, who lost their loved ones and those who were injured, for their spirit of magnanimity in not reacting in anger and hatred. What was remarkable in that, was the resolve to stay calm and peaceful so that an evil plot to destabilize Sri Lanka with racial or religious riots was defeated by all Sri Lankans.”

I wish to commend all those who espoused the cause of peace and extended a helping hand to those injured and to the families of the victims in many ways. We also call to memory and pray for the 42 foreigners who came with their families to visit this beautiful and peaceful Island and lost their lives in this heinous attack.”

First of all I wish to extend our grateful thanks to the Holy Father Pope Francis who was one in spirit with us during this time and sent his special envoy to convey his closeness to our country and its people. We are also thankful to the foreign missions in the country, particularly the High Commissions of all the Islamic Republics for their prompt visit to me after the attack, to convey their solidarity with our nation. I wish to extend my sincere thanks to the many foreign countries and their citizens who sent messages of condolences, support to the Relief Fund and the assurance of prayers.”

For example, the Eiffel Tower switched off its lights at midnight on 21st April and the Burj Kalifa in Dubai was lit up with the colours of the Sri Lankan flag, in honour of the victims. We are also grateful to the many other countries, who showed similar gestures of solidarity with our people and also to the local and foreign business entities and individuals who generously supported the Relief Fund established to help the victims.”

We are thankful to the International Media, especially those who interviewed me locally and via phone, for reporting the true facts to the international community. I wish to state that even in the future we need you to support us in reporting to the international community the true facts and the true image of our beautiful Island Nation which has been called the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.”

We are grateful to those friendly nations that generously shared their intelligence information prior to the attack on several occasions, which our political leaders did not take seriously. We are aggrieved that those responsible for governance at that time, did not take seriously the repeated warnings received concerning these attacks and so, not only allowed this massacre to take place but also sought to hide their culpability in different ways after the attack.”

Still more serious is the responsibility of all those who masterminded these attacks, by planning, funding and encouraging the perpetrators and deliberately covering up the facts of the case. Some of them surely knew this was coming.”

We thank the incumbent President for his insistence in investigating these attacks thoroughly and for ensuring that those responsible are brought to book. We are indeed sad and shocked to hear that some educated and elitist people, some of whom are connected to the legal sphere, are trying to bring pressure on the President to cover up these investigations and possibly hide the authors.”

What are human rights when they try to use such to cover up the perpetrators and associates of those who violated the basic right to life of so many innocent human beings ,men, women and children?”

We also wish to affirm our confidence in the Presidential Commission of Inquiry appointed for this purpose and we are hopeful that we will be able to ascertain who orchestrated these attacks and who shirked their responsibility to prevent them and why.”

At the same time we Catholics wish to affirm our commitment to live harmoniously with the other religious groups, conscious of the common culture that has been enriched by the teachings of Buddhism to a very large extent and in which culture we find a high level of acceptance and tolerance. Our challenge would be to work amicably with all our fellow citizens and to ensure a spirit of true acceptance and integration within the national fabric of cultures for a peaceful and prosperous new Sri Lanka free of all divisions, and petty mindedness.”

Finally even though it is difficult to comprehend the Will of God, as a ray of hope that miracles do happen, I wish to mention that the Danish family who lost their children in the bomb attack, has been blessed with twin girls on 11th March 2020. This indeed is a new beginning for them and a new hope for all of us, that life is precious and we need to be responsible and live in harmony with one another.”

I end with the words of our Lord Jesus: Love one another as I have loved you” and do unto other as you would have them do to you.”

Pope Francis

Vatican’s Message to Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith

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