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POSTED AT 07:06 AM 23-04-2019

Colombo Archbishop calls for strengthening intelligence apparatus

Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith expressed his deep displeasure and concerns over not acting immediately over the reports of possible terror attacks.

Addressing a press conference at Archbishop’s House, Borella yesterday, he urged the Government to strengthen the country’s intelligence apparatus and Security Forces. He lamented that the Easter Sunday attacks could have been avoided had the Government dealt with the prior information seriously and directly without consuming time to pass letters to one another.

He also made a special request from all followers of Christianity to act with restraint and not to harm any person of any other religious faith.

“We were shocked by the trail of unfortunate incidents on Sunday. It was like a lightning strike. Ten years ago, such attacks were common and people of all religious faiths had suffered. It was reported that threats have been posed against the Muslim community following the incident. We hardly know who is behind this incident. What we see could be the tip of an ice berg. I request that peace and harmony be maintained and the funeral rites and burials be performed in a peaceful manner,” he said.

“The law must be implemented immediately to bring the culprits to book. No ordinary person should be allowed to take the law into their own hands. We were shocked to hear media reports that there had been prior information on the attacks. The Prime Minister and a Cabinet Minister confirmed such reports. It is questionable as to why immediate action was not taken. The Government should have taken a subtle approach coupled with latest technology to counter this kind of acts of sabotage.

That is a responsibility of the Government,” the Archbishop remarked.

“If a father of a Minister had been known any information with regard to a possible attack, at least that minister had a responsibility to warn the people. When I got to know the incident, I immediately instructed all churches to stop Holy Mass and send people home. I am going through great pain of mind and question as to why they let this happen to us,” he complained with grief.

Methodist Church of Sri Lanka President Bishop Rev. Asiri Perera said that this type of large scale attacks could have been avoided if the Government was more serious in implementing the law on small incidents. Recalling his unpleasant experience on the Palm Sunday attack on the Anuradhapura Methodist Centre, Rev. Perera complained that no culprit was apprehended by Police till the matter was brought up with the IGP by the Prime Minister.

“We request the Government and Opposition to ensure the security of the people and take all measures to prevent this type of incidents in the future. I also received calls from several Muslim persons complaining that they live in fear due to social media messages spreading lately. I request all Sri Lankans not to harass any Muslim person,” he said.

Chief Prelate of Kotte Ven. Dr. Ittapana Dhammalankara Thera, Anunayake of the Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Maha Sanga Sabha Ven. Prof. Kotapitiye Rahula Thera, Mahabodhi Society of Sri Lanka President Ven. Banagala Upatissa Thera and Ven. Panamure Chandrananda Thera, speaking at the press conference organized by multi-religious leaders, expressed their solidarity with the Christian Community and all those who lost their loved ones during the terror attacks.

“We do not have major racial clashes in this country. We need to build a Sri Lankan identity integrating all communities. All ethnic and religious communities, while retaining their tenets, must adopt to a Sri Lankan culture,” said Ven. Kotapitiye Rahula Thera.

Mawlavi Sheikh M. Arkam Nooramith, responding to a question by a journalist, said that Islamic organisations had always been cooperating with the Security Forces to curb ISIS operations in Sri Lanka.

Member of Congress of Religions and Constitutional Council Javid Yusuf stressed the need to immediately establish rule of law and stop the spread of hate speech.

Apostolic Nuncio calls on Archbishop

Vatican Representative in Sri Lanka (Apostolic Nuncio) Dr. Pierre Nguyen Van Tot meeting with Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday expressed his condolences on the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

Speaking to the media at Archbishop’s House, Borella after the meeting, he said, “I present my deepest condolences to the whole nation for yesterday’s violent act. My prayers are for the victims and peace in this nice country. Happy to see all religious leaders have got together at this difficult time. If you work together, you can soon restore peace in the country”.

Disna Mudalige

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