Easter Sunday carnage cannot be blamed on Muslim extremists alone – Cardinal
Posted on January 15th, 2022

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

Dastardly conspiracy gradually unfolding’

Declaring that 2019 Easter Sunday carnage couldn’t be blamed on Muslim extremists alone, the Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday (14) questioned the failure on the part of the government to at least implement the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) and the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) into the near simultaneous suicide attacks.

Delivering a sermon at the Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka where the Catholic Bishops’ Conference organised a special prayer service to mark 1000th day since the Easter Sunday carnage, the Cardinal asked why specific recommendations made by the PSC as regards the State Intelligence apparatus couldn’t be carried out. The Cardinal emphasised the PSC recommendation for comprehensive inquiry into the failure on the part of the State Intelligence apparatus to thwart the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks couldn’t be taken lightly.

Intelligence services primarily consist of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) and the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI). In addition to them, the Navy, the Air Force and the Special Task Force (STF) have their own intelligence outfits.

Quoting directly from the PSC report, the Cardinal pointed out the gravity in the issue whether the terror project was allowed to go ahead because of the presidential election scheduled for late 2019.

The PSC report couldn’t be ignored under any circumstances, the Cardinal declared while referring to former Attorney General Dappula de Livera, PC, speculating on the possibility of a conspiracy.

Rt. Rev. Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith questioned the inordinate delay in taking action against those politicians and law enforcement officers named in the PCoI report.

The then President Maithripala Sirisena appointed five-member PCoI in the run-up to the Nov 2019 presidential election soon after the PSC chaired by Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri tabled his report in the Parliament.

Separate blasts claimed the lives of nearly 280 people. Over 500 received injuries. Some of them are bed ridden.

Having reminded how the then government received specific information pertaining to the impending attack from the Indian Intelligence but chose not act, the Archbishop of Colombo said that instead of taking action against those who allowed the massacre to take place, some of them were rewarded.

The Cardinal was referring to the then head of the SIS Senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardana, currently the senior officer in charge of the Central Range.

The Cardinal criticized the conduct of Police Spokesperson SSP Nihal Thalduwa for trying to underrate the PSC.

The Cardinal said that whatever the strategies adopted by the government, the heinous Easter Sunday crime couldn’t be suppressed. Reference was also made to the handling of the recovery of a grenade from inside All Saints Church, Borella last Tuesday (11).

The Cardinal compared the handling of the Easter Sunday investigation with that of the Borella incident while attacking successive governments for atrocities perpetrated since independence. Reiterating concerns over wartime accountability issues, the Cardinal underscored the need for justice for the victims.

Commenting on growing difficulties experienced by the public due to shortage of essential food and other items amidst rising cost of living, the Cardinal blamed successive governments for the current crisis.

At the onset of his sermon, the Cardinal said that growing queues for essentials and the ruination of cultivation due to the fertilizer crisis caused by the government reflected the actual situation. In spite of desperate efforts to deceive the public and consolidate power, the current dispensation was in deepening turmoil. There were clear signs of deterioration of their power and the day the public overwhelmed the political establishment was not far away, the Cardinal asserted.

The Church leader said that they were confident that the ongoing campaign could be brought to a successful conclusion. The Cardinal said their campaign would continue until they received justice.

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