Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on April 9 assured justice for all the victims of the 2019 Easter bombings in which 270 people, including 11 Indians, were killed, saying legal proceedings are being processed independently and impartially, without any influence.
President Wickremesinghe also pledged his unwavering commitment to ensuring the security of the country, by preventing any recurrence of heinous acts.
On April 21, 2019, nine suicide bombers belonging to the local Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ) linked to ISIS carried out a series of blasts that tore through three churches and as many luxury hotels in Sri Lanka, killing 270 people and injuring over 500.
"The legal proceedings related to this tragic incident are being processed independently and impartially, without any influence. The necessary groundwork towards this end has been laid, to ensure justice for all the victims," Wickremesinghe said in his Easter Sunday message.
"I pledge my unwavering commitment to ensuring the security of our country, by preventing any recurrence of such heinous acts,” the President said.
He also said that the Government is dedicated to realising the aspirations of all Sri Lankans regardless of race, religion, party or colour. “I strongly believe that we can overcome these challenges in the near future,” he said.
Charges against Maithripala Sirisena
The Easter Sunday bombings triggered a political storm as then-President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe were blamed for their inability to prevent the attacks despite prior intelligence being made available.
Sri Lanka's Supreme Court on January 12 ordered Mr. Sirisena to pay SLR 100 million as compensation to the victims. The former president stressed the attack took place without his knowledge.
As many as 12 petitioners, including the kin of the victims, the Catholic clergy, and the lawyers’ body Bar Association of Sri Lanka, filed the fundamental rights petition against the then-president for his negligence in preventing the attacks.
A presidential panel of inquiry appointed by Mr. Sirisena after the attacks ironically found the then-president guilty of his failure to prevent the attacks.
Mr. Sirisena, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge in the case filed after the panel’s findings.
Head of the local Catholic Church, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, continued to express his dissatisfaction over the probe, claiming that the investigation was a cover-up.
Mr. Sirisena denies the charge and blames the then defence establishment for the lapse which led to the coordinated attacks.