BY Buddhika Samaraweera
If anyone tried to come to power on the blood of innocent people, they would not be able to enjoy that power for too long, said Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, in reference to the Easter Sunday terror attacks of 21 April 2019 and the probe into it.
During a service held yesterday (21) at St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade, one of the targets of the Easter Sunday bombings, he said: “If anyone tried to come to power on the blood of innocents, they would not be able to enjoy that power for too long. They must remember that.”
He further said that if “they” are innocent, they should allow to carry out the investigations into the Easter Sunday bombings independently and should not be afraid to take action against those implicated in the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) that investigated the 21 April 2019 bombings.
“Those who have been implicated in the PCoI report must be brought before the law. If someone does not do that, then we have a question as to whether they are also guilty.”
The Archbishop further questioned as to why the freedom is not given to carry out investigations into the Easter Sunday bombings if “they” are right. “Where are the investigations that promised to find out exactly who is behind this conspiracy? Why can’t they be carried out? If they are innocent, why not give officials the freedom to investigate? Why not give the relevant authorities the power to investigate? Why are they trying to suppress this?” he queried.
He also claimed that if anyone was trying to cover up the investigation into the Easter Sunday bombings, it was only because they too were guilty of it. The Cardinal said that a person who has committed a crime is always trying to pass the blame on to someone else.
Meanwhile, Minister of Public Security Sarath Weerasekara announced yesterday that, after extensive investigations into the Easter Sunday terror attacks of 2019, the Sri Lanka Police have presented their findings to the Attorney General.
“The responsibility to file charges now lies with the AG,” the Minister said via a Tweet.
He noted that nine cases have been filed so far across five High Courts against 32 persons, another 25 persons have been indicted, and that a Trial-at-Bar has already been appointed to hear cases on a daily basis.
On 21 April 2019, Easter Sunday, three churches (St. Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya, St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade, and Zion Church in Batticaloa) and three luxury hotels in Colombo (Cinnamon Grand Colombo, The Kingsbury Colombo, and Shangri-La Colombo) were targeted in a series of co-ordinated suicide bombings. Later that day, another two bomb explosions took place at a house in Dematagoda and the Tropical Inn Lodge in Dehiwala. A total of 269 people excluding the bombers were killed in the bombings, including about 45 foreign nationals, while at least 500 were injured. All eight of the suicide bombers in the attacks were Sri Lankan citizens associated with the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) organisation founded by the suicide bomber at Shangri-La Colombo, Mohamed Cassim Mohamed Zaharan alias Zaharan Hashim.