Colombo, Feb 11 (PTI) The head of Sri Lanka’s Catholic church once again expressed disappointment on Thursday over the probe in the 2019 Easter Sunday blasts that tore through three churches and as many luxury hotels, cautioning the government that if justice is not served, he would approach international organisations.
Cardinal Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith told reporters that he had asked for a copy of the special presidential probe report on the attack after it was submitted to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last month.
The report led by a commission comprising judges has not been made public so far. However, Rajapaksa has assured that the report has been forwarded to the relevant officials for prosecution.
The Cardinal said: “We shall have to see what the government does after submitting the report. If this does not happen, there are international organisations abroad and we will act accordingly, seeking the assistance of these organisations in order to achieve some justice”.
Nine suicide bombers belonging to local Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ) linked to ISIS carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and as many luxury hotels on April 21, 2019, killing 258 people, including 11 Indians.
The Cardinal from the very outset has been sceptical of the police investigations.
“Those investigations seemed as if they were carried out for the sake of investigating with no genuine interest. I have therefore decided on an alternative approach in relation to one specific matter through the courts. You will learn about it soon,” he said.
The previous government headed by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was blamed for its inability to prevent the deadly attacks despite the prior intelligence made available on the impending terror strikes.
The then police chief and top defence ministry bureaucrat were criminally charged and arrested immediately after the attacks for failure to prevent it.
The Cardinal said that the investigations have only focused on failure to prevent the attack and not on the possible masterminds who had been behind it.
The Buddhist-majority nation was about to mark a decade since ending a 37-year-long Tamil separatist war in May 2009 when the suicide bombings in 2019 rocked the country. PTI CORR CPS AKJ CPS