Colombo Archbishop urges UNHRC to probe Easter Sunday attack

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Colombo Archbishop Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith on Monday urged United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to intervene to ensure impartial probe on 2019 Easter Sunday attack which church leader claimed ‘a grand political plot’.

Addressing the UNHRC’s 49th session in Geneva, Cardinal Ranjith also called on the member countries “to support the continuation of evidence gathering initiated by the Council last year and to devise a means to ensure an impartial investigation to unravel the truth behind the Easter Sunday massacre”.

A series of coordinated bombings on the Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019 killed 269 including 82 children and 47 foreign nationals belonging to 14 nations and injured more than 500 others.

The investigation in to the multiple bomb attacks targeting three churches and three star-class hotels revealed that Sri Lankan security officials had received specific intelligent information from India but had failed to act on them.

India had relayed three specific warnings including one on the morning of April 21. The warnings on April 4 and 20 had even specified that the attacks would be on churches and hotels and Lankan security officials had acknowledged that the country received intelligence about possible terror strikes.

However, then President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had denied receiving the information.

Cardinal Ranjith has repeatedly demanded to hold both the President and the Prime Minister responsible for the massacre.

“The first impression of this massacre was that it was purely the work of a few Islamic extremists. However, subsequent investigations indicate that this massacre was part of a grand political plot,” the Cardinal informed the UNHRC.

The Church leader also complained that “despite repeated requests and those of civil organizations pursuing the truth, the incumbent government of Sri Lanka has failed to mete out justice to the victims”.

“Instead of uncovering the truth behind the attack and prosecuting those responsible, there are attempts to harass and intimidate those who clamour for justice. As a result, nearly three years after the horrendous crime, we are still in the dark as to what really happened on that Easter Sunday,” Cardinal Ranjith stated.

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