Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, has held a press conference in which he called on the government to reveal the names of the “true masterminds” of the 21 April 2019 Easter Sunday attacks.
The prelate explained that the Catholic Church wants to properly study the report by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) and will express its views later.
“Sri Lankan authorities must bring to justice without delay the 'true masterminds' as well as those who seriously neglected their duties while aware of the attacks,” said the cardinal addressing the media at the Bishop’s residence.
“If we do not see justice for the victims of the Easter Sunday attacks, through a transparent investigation, by 21 April 2021, we will not only wear black, but we will invite people across the country to raise a black flag that day to show our strong opposition.”
Cardi Ranjith thanked the members of the commission for their work, which lasted over a year and a half. Mr Chandraguptha handed over a copy of the PCoI report into the investigation of the Easter attacks to Cardinal Ranjith on Monday.
The prelate said he put together a team composed of himself, auxiliary bishops, priests and several experts to study the PcoI report. “If we do not listen to the various opinions on this PCoI report, we cannot draw a final conclusion.”
“We will present an official position on the Commission's report after our study. However, we can clearly say that the report failed to meet the basic requirement to find out who masterminded the attacks and who facilitated them.”
For the cardinal, the investigations were deflected by recommendations that the Buddhist nationalist organisation Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) be banned.
As a Catholic, Cardinal Ranjith said he hoped to see justice for the victims of the attacks and that banning Buddhist organizations could not be approved.
“Catholics have always stood by Buddhists. Catholics were strongly supported by the Buddhist community when the attacks took place. Therefore, there should be no room for conflict between the Catholic and Buddhist communities,” he added.
The Cardinal wants the authorities “to explain why they were unable to investigate the masterminds behind the attacks, those who helped and encouraged them, those who financed the attackers and those who intervened to weaken and sabotage the investigations”.
Likewise, he wants the authorities “to bring all of these people to justice despite the fact that two years have passed since the attacks.”
A special prayer will be recited for the victims of the Easter Sunday attacks, marking the start of “a series of protests”.