The prelate slams the former head of state for seeking office again. According to the Archbishop of Colombo, Sirisena must be indicted. If no justice is done by 21 April, he will take to the streets. At 8.45 am, the moment of the first blasts, church bells tolled across Sri Lanka.
Colombo (AsiaNews) – Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith of Colombo has called for legal action against former president Maithripala Sirisena, saying that he “has no shame”.
“I am still demanding justice. If justice is not done before 21 April, the anniversary of the Easter massacres, we will all take to the streets,” said the prelate during the Easter service.
On Sunday, Sri Lanka’s Catholics celebrated Easter by remembering the victims of the 2019 attacks during Mass, prayers and ringing church bells at 8.45 am, the moment when the first bombings took place.
The faithful prayed for the victims and their families, but Church leaders were focused on the results of the ongoing investigations into the tragedy.
Two years ago, the first two explosions simultaneously hit St Anthony's Church in Kochchikade and St Sebastian's Church in Katuwapitiya.
The Evangelical church in Batticaloa (Eastern Province) and three luxury hotels in the capital: Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand were also attacked that day.
In total, 270 people were killed, including 30 foreigners; another 500 were injured in one of the bloodiest suicide attacks in recent history.
The question, the Archbishop of Colombo stressed, is whether some politicians held responsible for the attacks on the basis of the report by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCol) are so shameless that they dare run for office again.
“Have I heard that the former president (Sirisena) plans to run again? How is it possible that someone with knowledge of the deaths can contest an election? How can he be leader of a party?”
On behalf of Catholics, the Archbishop of Colombo called for the commission's report to “be implemented expeditiously”.
The document points the finger at the former head of state; for Card Ranjith, “it should not be too late to take legal action against him.”
The prelate calls on the authorities “not wash their hands like Pontius Pilate”, but to do their utmost to see justice done.
Card Ranjith notes that the PCol clearly indicates who the people involved in the attack were and wonders why they have not yet been punished.
Some ministers from the Sirisena administration still sit in Parliament today, while legal action is likely to take months, if not years. According to the prelate, this is an insult to Catholics.
Given the situation, the Archbishop of Colombo reiterated his intention to take to the streets to protest if there is no justice by 21 April.
“Our protest movement will continue with the involvement of other religious organisations, until we get a definitive sign” in a matter that affects not only Christians, but the whole country.