As the country marked one year after the devastating terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday, Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith blamed the political leadership of the previously administration for allowing the massacre to take place by ignoring vital intelligence information and later on of trying to hide their culpability after the attacks.
“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,” the Cardinal said in his address telecast over national television today.
He said that 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.
He thanked incumbent President Gotabaya Rajapaksa 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?”, he queried.
Here are the highlights of his address today: -
- 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.
- 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 Khalifa 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 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.