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MP appeals to Pope over prelate attacks
Calls for intervention to end 'unjust' harrassment of the Bishop of MannarOver 5,000 attend a public show of support for Bishop Rayappu Joseph at St Sebastianâ€™s Church in Mannar
- ucanews.com reporter, Colombo
- Sri Lanka
- June 15, 2012
In a letter sent to the pope on Wednesday, Jayalath Jayawardena said the bishop is coming under increasing attack by several government ministers and the media.
â€śUse your good offices to dialogue with the Sri Lankan government to ensure his [Bishop Josephâ€™s] safety so he can continue his mission without threats, intimidation and false allegations,â€ť the United National Party lawmakerâ€™s letter said.
The bishop is under fire after calling for an independent international body to investigate allegations of war crimes committed by the government in a letter sent to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva earlier this year.
The bishop aspires to be the Cardinal of â€śTamil Eelam,â€ť is involved in a conspiracy against the government supported by INGOs, and disturbing Muslim-Tamil harmony are just some of the accusations being leveled against the prelate.
â€śGovernment ministers have called for his arrest and prosecution over the letter and a statement he made to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission,â€ť said Jayawardana.
â€śThe bishop was questioned by intelligence officers last month. At no time has the bishop ever called for a separate country or a renewed armed struggle,â€ť Jayawardena said.
â€śHe had also condemned attacks on journalists and human rights defenders.â€ť
Pope Benedict and President Rajapaksa met at the Vatican last week. It is not known whether the situation regarding Bishop Joseph was discussed.
Meanwhile, Father Jayabalan Croos, a priest from the bishopâ€™s diocese has expressed appreciation for the large show of support for the prelate.
Mashal Rajanayagam who attended a recent prayer service for Bishop Joseph condemned all those attacking him.
â€śThe bishop for many years has been a voice for the voiceless and for victims of war. He is also one of the most prominent spokespersons on matters of social justice, human rights, peace and reconciliation,â€ť he said.
Rajapaksa in audience with the pope
Tamil supporters start hunger strike