Last Updated : 2019-07-16 00:20:00

Govt. hiding truth over Easter attacks: cardinal

21 June 2019 09:27 am - 22     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The head of the Catholic church in Sri Lanka on Thursday issued a scathing criticism of the government over the Easter attacks that killed more than 250 people, decrying a “total lack of interest” in determining why intelligence reports were ignored.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith spoke of his frustrations just hours before he was due to meet Pope Francis and show the pontiff a video with graphic images of the April 21 attacks on three churches and four hotels. The attacks were claimed by Islamic State militants.

“There was a serious lack of responsibility on the part of the government,” Ranjith told reporters. “Now they have appointed all kinds of committees and commissions and there is bickering going on between the sides, you know, (about) who is responsible.”

President Maithripala Sirisena has criticized a parliamentary investigation, where some have accused him of mishandling national security.

Ranjith, 71, said Indian intelligence services first notified Sri Lanka on April 4 of an impending attack and then three times more, including a phone call at 6:45 a.m. on the day of the blasts.

“But nobody took serious note. This disaster could have been prevented because if I knew that there was an attack planned I would have closed the churches and told the people to go home,” he said in answer to a question.

A Parliamentary Select Committee led by allies of Sirisena’s rival Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is trying to identify possible lapses that allowed the attacks to happen.

“Everybody is trying to pass the blame on to the others. And there is an attempt to hide (the facts),” the cardinal said.

“Even his (the president’s) own culpability in the matter might be in question, so they are trying to hide it. There is a total lack of interest in this matter on the part of the government and on the part of various agencies that are responsible for security,” he said.

The video he prepared for the pope, who visited Sri Lanka in 2015, shows the suicide bombers with backpacks approaching and then cuts away to scenes of mangled corpses, a blood-spattered statue of Jesus and mass burial sites.

The cardinal spoke at the presentation of a report by Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic charity that helps Christians in places where they are a minority. Sri Lanka is about 70 per cent Buddhist, 13 per cent Hindu, 10 per cent Muslim and 7 per cent Catholic. (Reuters)

  Comments - 22

  • C.K.Lankaputhra Friday, 21 June 2019 09:41 AM

    Cardinal was very careful not to mention about the foster father of Thowheeth Jamath.

    Rameendra Senaratne Friday, 21 June 2019 09:43 AM

    Who wrote this article? There is an ethic and an etiquette when referring to religious leaders. You have addressed him as ‘Ranjith’. Pls give due respect to any religious leader devoid of your political affiliations. He was instrumental in avoiding a blood bath in this country. At least respect that!!

    Sukumar Friday, 21 June 2019 10:16 AM

    Agree with you 100% on this. Please show and give an appropriate respect when you address a person or persons of this caliber.

    jdkdkd Friday, 21 June 2019 10:19 AM

    So, what? He still mentioned a name. Just read the news. Don't worry about anything else. You people are too worried about unnecessary things and distracting attention from real issues.

    Tim Friday, 21 June 2019 10:51 AM

    Pls ask Reuters..... Also ask Cardinal why there is no mention of MR...and due to this stance Catholic church is also divided now.

    Peter Friday, 21 June 2019 10:52 AM

    Fully agree.. journalism at its lowest level..

    Thinker Friday, 21 June 2019 11:33 AM

    So true ...

    Mewan Dharmarante Friday, 21 June 2019 11:45 AM

    Absolutely, would you mention a Buddhist monk by his first name in the paper such as 'Rathana?"

    Fernando Friday, 21 June 2019 12:00 PM

    Certainly agree with RS. This shows the level of media

    Nestle Friday, 21 June 2019 12:11 PM

    The Cardinal averted a blood bath in the Country following the Easter Sunday attack. He must be given due recognition by all citizens of this country.

    Angelo Friday, 21 June 2019 10:09 AM

    We all know that the head of state was 100% aware of it. Only problem is that he is unaware of his awareness. A bitter lesson learned the hard way by choosing a total incompetent. Unfortunately the lives of so many innocent people and kids who knew nothing had to pay the price.

    NormanF Friday, 21 June 2019 10:29 AM

    His request is very fair. He is asking for impartial , apolitical investigation . Isn’t it too much to ask for 250 souls and 500injured. It’s pathetic people see politics in this carnage. Even some of the readers want their political to be named. Shame!!!

    KC Sampath Perera Friday, 21 June 2019 10:40 AM

    Wonder whether writer knows that there is know head for catholic church in SL and its governed by the Bishops conference of SL and it has his office bearers.

    SPEAK THE TRUTH TO POPE Friday, 21 June 2019 10:54 AM

    Please do not fail to tell Pope on the fostering of BBS and Zahran by Mahinda's government. Forget this time that Shiranti is in your flock and be truthful

    Sando Friday, 21 June 2019 11:19 AM

    We still have pitty for the affected families. This was not a natural disaster. Hence, severe action must be taken to bring the big fish behind the attacks to book.

    Dakshina Dissanayake Friday, 21 June 2019 11:19 AM

    The above article is an extract of MSN.COM

    GON BASS Friday, 21 June 2019 11:21 AM

    Rev . Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith is exactlly correct . Now the authorities are playing the PASS THE BUCK game until it stops with an innocent govt. servant who has nothing to do in this issue .

    RuwanL Friday, 21 June 2019 01:21 PM

    It's not possible for the Parliament Select Committee to do the investigation as they are all (Government) responsible for security of the country! Including the President and the Prime Minister. Don't pass the buck! Please note blaming MR is also passing the buck!

    Ladis Friday, 21 June 2019 01:31 PM

    Very incompetent President and Prime Minister we have in Sri Lanka. Both should be removed and thrown away soon. Both are seeking their self political advantage at the cost of innocent lives of 260 died and 500 wounded.

    kumar Friday, 21 June 2019 02:22 PM

    Cardinal just want to bring is favorite government in to power. No one including Cardinal has raised any question about CCTV footage of Kochchikkade Church. Not only Government but also the Cardinal are hiding the truth.

    BuffaloaCitizen Friday, 21 June 2019 02:53 PM

    He did not have this level of empathy when innocent Tamils were butchered during Mahinda's governance? He did not have this concern when State Terrorism was a reality under Mahinda with citizens going missing by the day.

    raj Friday, 21 June 2019 09:56 PM

    YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT


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