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Cardinal accuses officials of Sri Lanka terror attack cover-up

Cardinal Ranjith claims that those in charge of the law are becoming partners in a conspiracy

UCA News reporter, Colombo

UCA News reporter, Colombo

Published: October 23, 2021 02:44 AM GMT

Updated: October 25, 2021 02:50 AM GMT

Cardinal accuses officials of Sri Lanka terror attack cover-up

Catholic priests pay their respects at a graveyard for St. Sebastian's Church bomb blast victims in Negombo, Sri Lanka, on April 21. (Photo: AFP)

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has said the recommendations of a report into the 2019 Easter bombings cannot be implemented under the current administration in Sri Lanka.

“It has been nine months since the report was handed over to the attorney general. Very few of the recommendations in the revealed volume have been implemented,” he said.

Cardinal Ranjith was speaking during a prayer service at St. Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade, one of the targets of the Easter Sunday bombings, on Oct. 21.

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry recorded the evidence of 457 people over a period of 214 days, including politicians, religious leaders and members of the security services, as well as those affected by the attacks. It handed over the final report to the president on Feb. 1.

Based on the released section of the report, 23,270 charges have been made against 25 people for various counts including not heeding the security alarm raised by foreign intelligence agencies, especially India’s Research and Analysis Wing.

A court has ordered the cases to be heard from Nov. 22 but Cardinal Ranjith has repeatedly said he is unhappy with the lack of progress in the inquiry into the attack.

If anyone tried to come to power on the blood of innocents, they cannot enjoy that power happily for too long. They must remember that

“The former attorney general who came to meet me on March 8 this year told me that the Easter Sunday attack was a well-organized one. He told me that it could not be done by 7-8 terrorists and that there was a larger plan behind the attack,” he said.

He said he had learned that some high-ranking officials, especially in the security forces, were making great efforts to cover up the investigations.

“If anyone tried to come to power on the blood of innocents, they cannot enjoy that power happily for too long. They must remember that,” Cardinal Ranjith said.

Suicide bombers affiliated with local Islamist group National Thowheed Jamath attacked three churches and three luxury hotels in 2019, killing at least 269 people, including 37 foreign nationals, and injuring at least 500.

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“The government promises one law in the country but they are enforcing one law for themselves and another for others. Those in charge of the law are becoming partners in this conspiracy,” said Cardinal Ranjith.

Sarath Weerasekara, federal minister of public security, said the Sri Lankan police have presented their findings to the attorney general after extensive investigations into the attacks.

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