03/16/2021, 14.20
SRI LANKA
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Card Ranjith rejects presidential commission’s report on the Easter Sunday massacres

by Melani Manel Perera

The prelate points out that “the authors of the attacks” and those who “funded them” have not been identified. The report is “incomplete” and therefore unacceptable to the country’s Catholic bishops. The cardinal reiterates his commitment to the search for the truth and the quest for justice.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith of Colombo has reacted to the report by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) on the attacks on Easter Sunday 2019.

There are some basic facts here and there, but the authors of these attacks or those who funded them have not been identified. Therefore, we can not be satisfied with the report of this commission,” Cardinal Ranjith said.

For the prelate, the document is “incomplete”; for this reason, it is unacceptable for Sri Lankan Catholics who renewed the call for justice last week.

Speaking on behalf of the country’s Catholic bishops, Card Ranjith said that protests will continue “unless and until justice is done through a thorough and transparent process”. For him, this “is the message that we have to give our ruling class.”

“I witnessed how the bodies of our congregants were broken and scattered into pieces with my own eyes,” said the cardinal. “Just because they followed a particular religion they were blasted into small pieces. I don't know whether these politicians witnessed that."

“We cannot allow anyone to benefit financially or with power. I know that most people in this country do not believe what is being said. If we are to save ourselves, we have to free ourselves from this type of underhanded politics,” he said.

“We need parties and political leaders who will stand up for what is right, not go after money and power” using tactics that have “given us 40 or 50 years of grief. We need straightforward, law-abiding leadership that will deliver justice,” he insisted.

The cardinal acknowledged that the presidential commission may have tried to do its job in the best possible way. Precisely for this reason, to get to the truth requires the collaboration of police and intelligence agencies, so that “all this does not happen again. Therefore, we will continue this action, and all bishops are of the same mind.”

The report “does not give the answers we expected” and the hopes that had been placed in its work were disappointed. “That's why  we consider it an incomplete”.

Meanwhile, the committee that reviewed the PCoI report has completed about 80 per cent of its work and is expected to publish its final assessment in the coming days, Minister and committee member Prasanna Ranatunga said.

The previous government, explained the Minister, received 333 complaints about extremist activities by Muslims, but did not start any in-depth investigation.

The report does not call for measures against the minister in charge of police at the time, but hopes for better prevention and intelligence activities in the future.

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