Punish all who failed to prevent Easter Sunday Bombings
Posted on April 22nd, 2020


On 21st April Tuesday Sri Lankans belonging t all religions and of all walks of life mourned by lighting a lamp, ringing Church and Temple bells and Muslims held special supplications (Dua) and prayers in the mosques and homes at 8.45 a,m, for more than 250 killed and nearly 500 injured on a day like this last year by a gang of inhuman brutes who had identified themselves as Muslims by blasting bombs in four leading Churches and three super luxury hotels in Colombo.  It was a tragedy that these suicide attacks could have been prevented if not for the inaction of the reckless government. 

Very reliable foreign intelligence reports had been received well advance by them government identifying the would-be suicide bombers, their contact details, potential targets, and even their time of action.  There were no reports initiated by our intelligence officers as the cream of our intelligence service was behind bars to appease the terrorist diaspora, the separatists, and the foreign masters on concocted charges.  The government however ignored these foreign intelligence reports and kept the Ministers, including the Minister of Christian Affairs and the Christian MPs of the government informed about the impending attacks.  Minister Harin Fernando had informed the media later that his father prevented him from attending Church on that saying there could be bomb attacks on Churches on that day. The egregious government did not at least bother to contact Harin’s father and find out the source of his information and it was buried with him as he passed away in the latter part of last year. 

Instead of conducting a proper investigation and apprehend and punish all those connected to this mayhem the government only staged media shows finding some suckers such as the Hemasiri Fernando and Pujitha Jayasundera and shuttling them between courts and remand and also holding another media show of a Parliamentary Select Committee inquiry in which even some suspected collaborators for the attack took part as investigators. 

In addition to there were many video clips of a prominent government Minister holding discussions with Zaharan, the main suicide bomber, visiting to see his brother in a hospital and another Minister and the former Governor of the Western Province allegedly requesting the Police to release some people connected to the tragedy from Police custody.  Despite numerous requests made by Cardinal Dr, Malcolm Ranjith Cooray, the most aggrieved by this tragedy the ludicrous government did not take any action at least to investigate the Ministers concerned.

President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa upon his election on November 16th gave a firm commitment to the Cardinal Dr. Malcolm Ranjith Cooray that an extensive investigation will be carried out about this Easter Sunday carnage and all those who had been responsible will be punished.     

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, in his message on the first anniversary of the Easter Sunday carnage, said 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.”

He said that on this occasion when we commemorate the dead and pray for the wounded of the Easter Sunday bomb attack, on its first anniversary, he wishes to express their sincere thanks to all those who stood by the victims, showing your solidarity with them and for assisting them in every way possible and added these victims belonged to all ethnic and religious groups in Sri Lanka and included foreigners.

The Archbishop stated that they honour, especially 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.

He said that he wishes 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 and 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.

The Archbishop emphasized that first of all, he wishes to extend their grateful thanks to the Holy Father Pope Francis who was one in spirit with them during this time and sent his special envoy to convey his closeness to our country and its people. He said that they are also thankful for the foreign missions in the country, particularly the High Commissions of all the Islamic Republics, for their prompt visit to him after the attack, to convey their solidarity with our nation and wishes to extend his 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. He said that they are also grateful to many other countries, which 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.

The Archbishop in his message thanked the International Media, especially those who interviewed him locally and via phone, for reporting the true facts to the international community and wishes 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.

Speaking about the then government, the Cardinal said that they 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, he stressed,  surely knew this was coming and thanked the incumbent President for his insistence in investigating these attacks thoroughly and for ensuring that those responsible are brought to book. He said that they 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 he asked?

President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in his Condolence Message on the anniversary of the Easter Sunday carnage has said that he will not leave any room for any form of extremism, or violence from any extremists to be unleashed on the Sri Lankan people again and assured that the true perpetrators responsible for the Easter Sunday attacks will be identified and brought before the law.

The President stated that.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,”

He said that 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,.”

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

The President reiterated the pledge he made in his Vistas for Prosperity” policy statement that he will ensure the safety of all communities in the country. 

 In the conclusion of his message, 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.”  

The defence secretary Maj.General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne reiterating the assurance given by the President to Cardinal Dr. Malcolm Ranjitjh as well as the people of Sri Lanka said that the Government would soon bring all culprits who planned, financed and supported the Easter bombing carnage that killed over 270 and wounded over 500 innocent people on last year’s Easter Sunday. irrespective of their social status, political affiliations, ethnicity, or religion to the book. , Referring to the on-going investigations, he said that under the leadership of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who had pledged to give the topmost priority to national security, country’s people would be protected from terrorism and extremism and this government will not let our people die and suffer in such unfortunate incidents.

The Defence Secretary further stated that they have taken all precautionary measures to identify such acts of terrorism or extremism at the early stages and taken all necessary actions to bring them before the law. Highlighting the importance of public support and contribution of the intelligence agencies in curbing extremism, he said that under the directives of the President the intelligence agencies had been strengthened under a system that brought all

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa commenting on the subject stated that the Easter Sunday carnage was the worst terrorist attack, on civilians, ever to take place, not only in Asia, but also anywhere in the world, and it could have easily been prevented had those in charge of security and power acted promptly on the warnings.

In a statement titled ‘Remembering the Easter Sunday Attacks,’ the Premier said: “We in Sri Lanka are no strangers to suicide bombings. However, the Easter Sunday bombings differed from what we had experienced during the 30-year war against separatism. The intelligence service of a friendly country had provided advance warning to the then Sri Lankan government of the possible dates and targets of the attacks, and the names, addresses, identity card numbers and even telephone numbers of the terrorists involved. Therefore, this attack could easily have been prevented.”

Most of the victims, the Premier said, were worshipers who had gathered in Churches to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and it was the worst terrorist attack, on civilians, ever to take place, not only in Asia but also anywhere in the world. The Tokyo poison gas attack of 1995, the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995, the London bombings of 2005 and the Mumbai attacks of 2008, which are internationally remembered, were all of a lesser magnitude than the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka and pointed that one victim died recently after battling for life for nearly a year and some victims are still receiving treatment for their injuries.

The Prime Minister said that “The Archbishop of Colombo, His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has requested all Catholics to light a lamp in their homes in remembrance of the victims. I wish to request Sri Lankans to remember those who died, were injured, and those who were disabled due to the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks in accordance with their own faiths.

Prime Minister revealed that several more persons would be arrested, as per on-going investigations by law enforcement authorities, and assured that the government would not interfere in police investigations to apprehend criminals responsible for conspiring and abetting in the terror attacks that killed more than 310 people and injured over 480.

He said that as a responsible government, it is needed to ensure justice and assure the relatives and family members of the victims that this government will not allow investigations to be hindered by any means. The police and the security force investigations are continuing and several more will be arrested in the coming days irrespective of any rank and social status of those responsible for the bomb attacks.

The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama, an independent organization of Muslim theologians expressed intense grief and emotional pain, along with the entire Nation on Tuesday in sadly commemorating the barbaric suicidal terror attacks that took place on Easter Sunday on the 21st of April 2019 A message issued by the organization\s General Secretary Ah Shaikh M.M.A Mubarak said that they vehemently condemn this inhuman cruel deed, in the strongest possible terms, and also extend their deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives and those who were injured, and they pray to Almighty God that all those who are suffering due to the loss of their loved ones, to be blessed with solace and to be compensated with all forms of good fortune in life. The message stated that there is no dissent to the fact that, the massacre of innocent worshippers who were involved in prayers at their places of worship, and those of the public, was an act that was completely antithetical to the teachings of Islam and the perpetrators were the enemies of humanity. It said that whoever who was involved in these crimes must be punished and pointed out that The Holy Quran states “….whoever kills a person not in retaliation for a person killed, nor (as a punishment) for spreading disorder on the earth, is as if he has killed the whole of humankind and whoever saves the life of a person is as if he has saved the life of the whole of humankind….” Surah Ma’idah Verse 32.

The message further stated that it is well known that any religion including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam does not endorse nor approve violence and those who engage in evil and destructive activities in the name of their religion are completely contradictory to the teachings of their respective religious beliefs. On this basis, it should be noted that based on the despicable activities of some misguided individuals, it is not fair to evaluate a particular religious belief or its followers and stated that they take this opportunity to extend their wholehearted appreciation to His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith for the commendable efforts in consoling the community and to those who were affected for adopting calmness and peace, which prevented a repercussion against the Muslim community.

The SLPP National list nominee Ali Sabri PC has strongly condemned the inhuman barbaric Easter Sunday attacks perpetrated exactly one year ago.  In a Twitter message, he has said that politically motivated negligence facilitated this attack and the society has a responsibility to curtail the emergence of such barbarians.

Meanwhile, the Governor of the North-Western province Mr A.J.M.Muzammil has queried as to what happened to Rs. 900 Million promised by the World Muslim League as assistance for the Easter Sunday carnage victims.   This matter has also been raised by the scholarly monk Dr Omalpe Sobhita Thero.  Mr Muzammil has recalled that a seminar to promote national reconciliation initiated by the World Muslim League was held under the aegis of the former President Maithripala Seirisena on 30th June last year and the General Secretary of the World Muslim League Dr, Mohamed Abdul Kareem Al Eisa was the Chief Guest at this seminar.  Mr. Muzammil says that Dr. Al Eisa promised to give Rs. 900 Million at this seminar and the seminar activities were coordinated by one Abdul Cader Al Mashooe Mowlana. Mr. Muzammil further states that Dr. Al Eisa arrived in the country on 28th June and on the same day he met Cardinal Dr. Malcoln Ranjith as well.

The Island editorial said on 21st April that the first anniversary of the Easter Sunday carnage fell while the country was battling a highly contagious virus, which is as destructive as extremist terror, which snuffed out more than 250 lives at several churches and hotels. Our hearts go out to the grief-stricken family members, relatives, and friends of the victims of the terror attacks.

It said that it has been established that the Easter bombings could have been prevented if the intelligence warnings thereof had been heeded and action is taken, but, unfortunately, nothing was done to thwart the terror strikes. Worse, a raid on a terrorist training facility in Wanathavilluwa had yielded a haul of explosives, a few months before the Easter attacks, but no serious effort was made to trace all those responsible for running it. The CID officers in charge of the investigations balked at arresting some key suspects with links to those who had run the training camp, but they have got off scot-free, to all intents and purposes. Action must be taken against them as well.

The editorial pointed out that disasters are inevitable when dirty politics takes precedence over national security and public safety. All those who failed to prevent the Easter Sunday bombings must be brought to justice. An Opposition politician’s brother has been arrested for his alleged links to the terrorists. But there are many others including politicians and police officers who must be made to explain why they had not acted on the intelligence warnings and the findings of investigations into the wanton destruction of Buddha statues in Mawanella, a test explosion in the East and the training of terrorists at Wanathavilluwa. The killing of two policemen in Vavunativu, in the East, a few months before the Easter attacks was not properly probed. Some ex-LTTE cadres were blamed for the crime, which was committed by the Zahran group.

As the dead cannot seek justice. Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has been striving to have justice served, but sadly his campaign has not come to fruition. One can only hope that he will succeed in his endeavor. He deserves the assistance of all Sri Lankans to achieve his noble goal.

The editorial said that mystery surrounds the Easter bombings which have been blamed solely on Zahran Hashim, who is believed to have masterminded the terror strikes, on behalf of ISIS. He perished in one of the attacks. Irrefutable evidence has emerged that, at the time of their suicide attacks, he and his fellow terrorists had been working tirelessly to expand their terror network by setting up training facilities, stockpiling arms and explosives, and recruiting cadres. Efforts of the National Thowheed Jamaath to build a formidable terror network make one wonder whether there was any need for it to do so to carry out a few suicide attacks, which did not require years of planning. It is believed that Zahran had links to ISIS, which belatedly claimed the responsibility for the Easter bombings, but did he really work for the ISIS proper, or did he have links to one of its affiliates? Was his handler working for another organization masquerading as an ISIS agent? The picture is not clear.

The editorial concluded saying that the need for a separate investigation into the external links Zahran had established cannot be overemphasized.

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