03/09/2021, 14.30
SRI LANKA
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Catholics, Buddhists and Muslims hold silent protest to demand truth about Easter Sunday massacre

by Melani Manel Perera

Sri Lankan Churches held a symbolic protest over the weekend to mark “Black Sunday”, demanding light be shed on the attacks. Card Ranjith and the country’s bishops openly backed the rallies. For many people, the attacks were “planned in every detail”. They want to know the names “of the masterminds”. For the prelate, “We will not fear anybody”.

 

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Last weekend, Sri Lankan Churches held a symbolic and silent protest to mark “Black Sunday” and demand action from a hitherto uninterested government in order to shed light on who was behind the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks and bring them to justice.

The main protest took place in the Archdiocese of Colombo with participants wearing black as a show of mourning and sorrow for the victims of the attacks and the inability or unwillingness of the authorities to find and punish the actual perpetrators.

Across Sri Lanka, Masses included a special prayer and a silent protest at the end of the service.

Christians want transparency and answers, backed by the country’s bishops and archbishops; In some places, Buddhist monks and prominent Muslim also joined the rallies, showing broad solidarity and a shared desire for justice.

Sri Lanka’s highest Catholic cleric, Archbishop Card Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo, joined the protest.

Participants shouted “Tell us who the masterminds are” of the brutal attacks that killed 279 people on 21 April 2019. “We went to church for Easter Sunday, not to die. But they killed us.”

Many of those who came out to demonstrate had the same thoughts, namely that the massacre was “planned in every detail” and took many “from the affection of their loved ones”.

People carried placards and banners in English, Sinhala and Tamil. One of them read: “The Easter Sunday massacre! Who led the operation behind the curtains? Will the law be enforced against those found to be negligent? We cry for justice.”

Card Ranjith celebrated Mass at St Anthony's Basilica in Colombo in the presence of Christians as well as some Buddhist monks and Muslims.

After the service, the prelate addressed media saying that he would continue to fight for the whole truth about the tragedy to come out.

“We are holding this protest in the hope that justice will be done. We want the commission to find out who's behind the attacks,” he said.

At present, the cardinal is reading the report drafted by the commission of inquiry. There are “many things that can be enforced”, first of all “the law against the perpetrators,” he said.

The government should commit to an “honest investigation” making sure that the culprits are punished. “We will continue to carry out this protest campaign until we and our victims receive a definite sign. We will not fear anybody,” the cardinal added.

The venerable Watumulle Uditha Thero, secretary general of the National Front of Buddhist Monks, expressed solidarity with Christians and Church leaders in this fight for justice.

“We urge the president to tell us soon who the true masterminds are, who the organisers are, who the helpers are, who approved the attacks. We need to know,” the Venerable explained.

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