Easter attacks was a ‘grand political plot’, Sri Lanka cardinal tells UNHRC

The archbishop earlier met Pope Francis at the Vatican seeking support for his call for justice to the victims of the Easter terror attacks

March 07, 2022 10:32 pm | Updated 10:32 pm IST - Colombo:

Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith. File

Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith. File | Photo Credit: AP

The head of Sri Lanka’s Roman Catholic Church, who earlier resisted international pressure on Sri Lanka over war-time accountability and justice, on Monday urged the United Nations to investigate the Easter Sunday serial blasts of 2019 that he called a “grand political plot”. 

Addressing the ongoing 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said: “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.” 

An initial probe by Sri Lankan authorities led them to a network of Islamist radicals who carried out the deadly serial blasts across three churches in capital Colombo, nearby Negombo and the eastern town of Batticaloa, and three luxury hotels in Colombo. As many as 279 people, including dozens of foreigners, died in the bombings. 

Members of the Catholic church and Cardinal Ranjith, who supported President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the 2019 elections, have since voiced concern, domestically and abroad, over the lack of progress in the probe — a key poll promise of Mr. Rajapaksa — and even suggested that the attacks were likely carried out with a political or electoral motive. 

“Despite our repeated requests and those of civil organisations pursuing the truth, the incumbent government of Sri Lanka has failed to mete out justice to the victims,” the Cardinal told the Council, adding: “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.”

The archbishop earlier met Pope Francis at the Vatican seeking support for his call for justice to the victims of the Easter terror attacks.

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