Catholic Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith yesterday charged that the 2019 Easter Sunday attack was used by a Presidential Election candidate to garner support by putting forth promises of upholding national security.
“The 2019 Presidential Election was focused on national security, whilst creating an unrest and instilled fear among citizens, where people pitted against each other,” he claimed speaking at a service at the St. Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade yesterday to commemorate the lives of the victims, as the country marked the third year since the Easter attacks.
He said the summary of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) to probe the Easter Sunday attacks report revealed that creating conflicts between ethnicities was also part of the ploy.
The Cardinal also charged that the former President, the intelligence units and the Police concealed details of the impending attacks despite having prior knowledge and thereby failed to ensure public safety.
“The former President Maithripala Sirisena was aware of the storage of explosives that was discovered in Vanathavilluwa, yet failed to make inquiries from the Security Council. The requests by certain officials to arrest Zahran Hashim and the group of extremists, went unheeded by the former President and this too was a reason for the attacks,” he pointed out.
The Cardinal said the former President Sirisena grossly neglected his duties and failed to fulfil his civic duty as the Head of the State. As per the PCoI report, he said the former President can face charges under the Penal Code, while the report too recommends the Attorney General to file charges.
However, the Cardinal said the Attorney General and the Government’s failure to take action in this regard is questionable and raises concerns why the administration protects the former President.
“Questions arise whether the Government is fearful of former President Sirisena, former Secretary of Defence Hemasiri Fernando, former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pujith Jayasundara and former head of State Intelligence Service Senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardena if they reveal facts to the public that may cause issues to the ruling administration,” he argued.
The Cardinal also condemned the process in which investigations were being carried out in to the Easter Sunday bombings, adding that they were highly concerned and disappointed when former Defence Secretary Fernando and former IGP Jayasundara was released.
He said individuals linked to the incident will face the repercussions of their actions before too long.
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith also charged that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who took to stages during the Presidential Election vowing to bring the perpetrators of the Easter attacks to book, has failed to fulfil his promises and is also concealing facts revealed in the report issued by the PCoI.