New Delhi: As eight powerful blasts ripped across Sri Lanka on Easter Day, killing 290 people on Sunday, former diplomat G Parthasarathy said that the attacks were, as per his view, a retribution for the killing of the devotees at the mosque in New Zealand. “There is no evidence to suggest that Sri Lankans are going to Syria or Iraq in large numbers to join the ISIS or are getting involved in their training programme. But since the primary targets were Christians and the timing was on one of the holiest days for Christianity, this appears as a retribution for the killing of devotees at the mosque in New Zealand,” he said.
Shedding some light on the Buddhist organisations becoming more and more anti-Islamic, Parthasarathy added that the phenomenon also existed in other Buddhist countries like Myanmar and Thailand. “This attack in Sri Lanka is significant as it takes place on Easter Sunday and the targets are churches and places where Christianity followers including western tourists were likely to gather in large numbers. This has international ramifications. They are targeting Christian related places of worship with devotees there, similar to the way the mosque was targeted in New Zealand. Simultaneously, you have to bear in mind that such attacks have happened across other Buddhist countries too. But this (Sri Lankan attack) requires meticulous planning from a professional terrorist organisation. Therefore one can say, it was to send out a very important message,” he said.
The blasts targeted St Anthony's Church in Colombo, St Sebastian's Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and another church in the eastern town of Batticaloa around 8.45 am (local time) as the Easter Sunday mass was in progress. Three explosions were reported from the five-star hotels —Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury. Foreigners and locals who were injured in hotel blasts were admitted to the Colombo General Hospital.
The way the attacks were carried out, he stressed, was keeping in mind the target and timings. “It seems that it was carried by someone with a clear target. It happened at a time when anti-Islam and Islamophobic sentiments are spreading across the world. The Sri Lankan government will have to investigate it thoroughly,” he added.
After the LTTE was defeated exactly 10 years ago, peace had returned to Sri Lanka and the last decade had been peaceful for the country till the attack on Sunday. Parthasarathy said that the attacks were carried out in Sri Lanka because it was a place where nobody would expect such an attack to happen. “But then, where else would you get so many Christian churches together and so many foreign tourists together? In Colombo. But, the country was chosen because it is a nation that you would least expect for such an incident to happen,” he said.