02/03/2022, 15.28
SRI LANKA
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No Mass for Card Ranjith on Independence Day

by Melani Manel Perera

The archbishop has decided to boycott celebrations in protest against the government. The sacristan of the church in Borella, where a hand grenade was found, has been held for almost a month despite his innocence. For Fr Cyril Gamini Fernando, obtaining justice “has been increasingly difficult” in the country.

Colombo (Asia News) – Archbishop Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Colombo has decided to boycott the celebrations for the 74th anniversary of Sri Lankan independence.

Breaking with tradition, no divine liturgy will be held to mark 4 February. The cardinal will not hold the traditional service in protest against the government, which has not yet properly investigated the discovery of a hand grenade in the All Saints’ Church in Borella nor fully explained the 2019Easter Sunday attacks.

“We are disturbed as to why the caretaker of the church is still detained despite the proof that he has nothing to do with the issue,” said Fr Cyril Gamini Fernando, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Colombo. In fact, “CCTV Camera footage makes it clear that this person has nothing to do with the grenade episode.”

In the past, Card Ranjith celebrated Mass in Borella several times on Independence Day, but this year, he decided not to hold Mass in the church where a hand grenade was planted.

Elsewhere in the country, other Catholic churches will celebrate the service as usual. But for Fr Fernando, this is a sad moment, especially at a time when innocent people are being detained.

On 11 January, a hand grenade was found in All Saint’s Church in Borella, a suburb of the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo.

The sacristan was immediately arrested along with other suspects, but police later identified the person responsible thanks to CCTV footage.

The culprit is a retired doctor from Piliyandala, also linked to other grenades placed in a private hospital in Narahenpita and the Bellanwila temple.

Speaking about the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, Fr Cyril Gamini said that he doubts justice will be done any time soon.

“We want answers in this country,” he insisted. “But for three years, this has been increasingly difficult.”

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