Sri Lankan Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo is calling on his country’s government leaders to face up to their responsibility for allowing the deadly Easter Sunday terrorist attacks to take place and for those who were negligent of the threats to be held accountable.
In June 24 comments to the Register during a visit to Rome and Italy, Cardinal Ranjith said about 500 families have been affected by the suicide-bomb attacks on three Sri Lankan churches and other targets in the country, but no one has been brought to justice yet.
The Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS) has claimed ownership of the attacks. The April 21 atrocities left 258 dead and at least 500 injured.
Cardinal Ranjith said 476 children have been “left destitute” because they have lost one or both parents. Many who have lost loved ones “don’t know how to reconcile themselves with that fact and carry on with their lives,” the cardinal said, adding that the archdiocese is offering them counseling.
Cardinal Ranjith, who spoke to the Register immediately after meeting Pope Francis, who gave large cash donations to help the suffering people, also recounted his own traumatic experiences that fateful morning, how the Holy Father was moved to tears after the cardinal showed him a video of what had happened, and how the priority is rebuilding people’s lives.
Your Eminence, what are your reflections now, just over two months since the atrocities?
What happened in Sri Lanka was a real tragedy. The real tragedy comes from the fact that the Indian government informed the responsible people for security as well as the heads of the government about an impending ISIS attack in Colombo aimed at the churches. But having known about it that day, they preferred to ignore it or did not give enough weight to the seriousness of that kind of threat. It makes it even more dramatic because the people are shattered, not only because their loved ones lost their lives or were badly injured and their families have been put into great difficulty, but also because of knowing that these kinds of people have been irresponsible about this matter. This has made the tragedy a double tragedy. The people are completely, I don’t know, lost; and they are completely dissatisfied about the existing power structure in Sri Lanka.
Nobody has been held accountable at all?
Nobody’s being held accountable, and they are always passing the buck onto the other side — “not me, but the other one.” That’s the way they have behaved. In fact, all of them have some responsibility because all of them had been warned and told about it.
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