For Sri Lankan Buddhists, Card Malcolm Ranjith is a ‘good leader’ (photos)
by Melani Manel Perera

The Archbishop of Colombo is appreciated for his courage in criticising the government's inefficiencies after the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks. The prelate laments that murder has become “part and parcel of Sri Lankan culture."

Colombo (AsiaNews) – On June 19th, Card Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, received warm words of appreciation from Sri Lanka’s Buddhist leaders at 45th anniversary ceremony of the Ashwaththaraama Buddhist temple in Thalgasyaaya, in the Diocese of Galle, where he was the guest of honour.

In his address, Ven Matugama Gunarathana Thero noted that “Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, not any politician, had the guts, the courage, to declare without any hesitation that Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country.”

“I like the outspoken nature of his leadership following Sri Lanka's worst tragedy in recent history on Easter Sunday in April,” the Buddhist cleric added.

After the attacks on 21 April, that cost the lives of 257 people, the Archbishop of Colombo emerged as one of the most harshest critics of political corruption and negligence under President  Maithripala Sirisena. “Therefore, we welcome him with all due respect," Thero said.

Speaking to the students at the Daham Paasala school, which is associated with the temple, Card Ranjith criticised once again the authorities’ inefficiency.

"The lack of discipline within rank and file politicians in the Sri Lankan political arena has created a sordid, regrettable and very disappointing situation in our country,” he said. “Murder has gradually become a part and parcel of Sri Lankan culture.”

"This blessed land of ours today has turned out to be a playing field for reckless murderous gangsters and killers”, he lamented.

“Our motherland, the land of our birth, was soaked with innocent blood when murderous terrorists blasted bombs, killing and injuring hundreds of devotees present at religious places on Easter Sunday.”

For the cardinal, "The reason for this state of affairs is crystal clear. It is nothing but the lack of discipline among our politicians and they have created the unfortunate situation the country experienced."

“We are of the view that the terrorist bomb attack on Easter Sunday was not something that came out in haste, all of a sudden. But it was an act carried out after long years of planning.

“We also do not know whether it was planned within or outside of our country. But the attack, though aimed at Catholic and Christian churches, had an impact that was not limited to that religious sector but [. . .] was felt in [. . .] the entire country.”