“For three years, we have been asking the government for truth and justice, following the 2019 Easter massacre. For three years, we have been alongside the victims and their families. Now, since our cry, and that of an entire nation, is not heard, we take our appeal to the international community and we have delivered it to Pope Francis, asking for his support and finding in him a warm welcome.”
This is explained to Agenzia Fides by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, who in Sri Lanka led the celebrations commemorating the third anniversary of the Easter attacks that left 279 dead and 500 injured, hitting churches and hotels, on April 21, 2019.
The cardinal accompanied Catholic families to Rome to meet Pope Francis. “People want and need to know whether the current government is protecting the former president, who may have been involved in the Easter bombings,” Cardinal Ranjith said at the April 21 ceremony, questioning the responsibility of intelligence and police units.
The representatives of the Church, as well as intellectuals and observers, recalled that the commission of inquiry into the massacres had suggested conducting disciplinary investigations, which were never carried out, in order to determine whether the institutions, or deviant sectors, were involved in the slaughter of innocent people.
On April 21 in Sri Lanka, which is currently going through a serious economic and social crisis, the anniversary of the massacres was commemorated in silence and prayer, candles lit in the cities and a long procession between Colombo and Negombo, the one of the sites of the massacres.
As Fr. Basil Fernando de Colombo, director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in Sri Lanka, reports to Fides, in all the churches of the country a ceremony was organized to commemorate the massacres. For two minutes the nation stood still and worshipers observed silence, along with Buddhists, Muslims, and Hindus.
“We want to say that justice and truth are the best ways to build a prosperous and peaceful future. We reiterate our request to the government, which has so far ignored the legitimate questions of the victims and their families: the people want truth and transparency,” notes Fr. Fernando.
The priest recalls that “the Church will continue to raise her voice to ask the government for transparent and honest explanations of the attacks, so that the real perpetrators of these attacks are brought to justice.”
“The population has lost confidence in the political class and its leaders,” continues Fr. Fernando. The Catholic Church is on the side of the poor, the needy, the last, of those who today are struggling to survive.”
On the evening of April 21, the faithful completed a silent 5 km procession between Colombo and Negombo, dressed in black, “to indicate the deep sadness of the day, dedicated to the victims and their families, and to express mourning because we have not yet obtained justice.”
The recent visit of the Sri Lankan community to the Vatican was an opportunity to call on the international community and the Holy See, concludes the director of the PMS, “to not abandon us and to support us in our fight for justice.”
“The international community needs to know. We ask all the faithful to pray for us and with us. We are gathered in the name of God, in search of the truth,” he concludes.