Cardinal blames leaders over April 21st attacks as families mourn loved ones

Cardinal blames leaders over April 21st attacks as families mourn loved ones

Written by Hassaan Shazuli

21 Apr, 2020 | 9:17 am

COLOMBO (News1st): Sri Lanka’s Archbishop of Colombo, in a commemorative address of last year’s April 21st attacks, blamed political leaders for failing to prevent the carnage, as families mourned the loss of their loved ones amidst a curfew due to COVID-19.

“We are aggrieved that those responsible for governance at that time, did not take seriously the repeated warnings received concerning these attacks,” Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said in a televised address.

Sri Lanka observed a two-minute silence at 8:45 am – when the first bomb went off at the St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade killing worshippers engaged in Easter service last year, followed by five other explosions in the country.

Bombers struck three churches and three hotels in Colombo in a coordinated series of bombings, killing over 250 and wounding more than 500.

The former government was accused of ignoring intelligence warnings including the one received hours before the carnage, amidst a rift between the President and the Prime Minister at that time.

“Some of them surely knew this was coming,” the Cardinal said accusing certain elements in the legal fraternity who are attempting to cover up the investigations.

“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.”

Former President Maithripala Sirisena, the defence minister at the time, appointed a commission of inquiry to probe the carnage, with the final report yet to be compiled.

“We are hoping that we will be able to ascertain who orchestrated these attacks and who shirked their responsibility to prevent them and why,” the cardinal said.

The Catholic Church on Easter Sunday this year said it had forgiven the bombers in keeping with the teachings of Jesus Christ to spread love and hope.

“We Catholics wish to affirm our commitment to live harmoniously with the other religious groups,” Cardinal Ranjith noted thanking all those who stood in solidarity with the victims.

In what he called as a miracle from God, the Archbishop said that a Danish family who lost their two children in the attacks have been blessed with twin girls this year.

“Love one another as I have loved you”, the cardinal signed off.

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