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Sri Lanka raises black flags to protest murky Easter bombing investigation

J-P Mauro - published on 08/26/21 - updated on 08/26/21

Cardinal Malcom Ranjith suggested the lack of progress is a sign of a "great conspiracy."

Catholic communities across Sri Lanka participated in a silent protest on August 21. Churches, homes, and private businesses raised black flags in protest of the government’s ineffectual investigation into the Easter Sunday bombings of 2019. 

The streets were lined with black flags as a new COVID-19 lockdown kept people in their homes. Church services organized to commemorate the victims of the coordinated attack were forced to go on without congregations. Still, this did not stop Cardinal Malcom Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, from speaking out. 

Cardinal Ranjith

UCA News reports that the prelate said the attacks could have been prevented. He cited evidence that the government was aware that Christian communities were in imminent danger. Even after four separate warnings from the Indian Intelligence Service, however, nothing was done. Cardinal Ranjith said:  

“The authorities were informed four times by the Indian Intelligence Service. Activities at Lacto estate in Wanathawilluwa and the attack on Buddha statues in Mawanella made it clear that something terrible was going to happen. The authorities covered them up and let people be killed,” he said. 

Cardinal Ranjith went on to call the investigation a “great conspiracy,” further suggesting the slow progress is politically motivated. Cardinal Ranjith said: 

“God reveals in various ways that there are other groups behind the great conspiracy. The authorities are trying to cover it up by misusing their power but God doesn’t allow them to hide. We pray to God to expose the conspiracy.”

The investigation

New Indian Express reports that last week 23,270 charges were brought against 35 individuals connected to the bomings. None of these, however, have been identified as the organizers of the terror attack. 

The Easter Sunday bombings were highly coordinated and allowed nine suicide bombers to detonate within three churches and hotels. The attack killed more than 270 people and injured at least 500 more. 

The Catholic Church has called for action to be taken against former president Maithripala Sirisena and ex-prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The two politicians have been ousted since 2019; however, no charges have been filed. A commission of inquiry has found them both culpable for their failures to prevent the attack.

According to New Indian Express, Cardinal Ranjith said: 

“It is now clear that the government is not interested in revealing the truth, they want to sweep the whole attack under the carpet and wash off their hands,” Ranjith said, adding that people were protesting to express their “pain and disgust.”

Read more at UCA News.

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