Catholic bishops in Sri Lanka say they are “profoundly saddened” that an independent inquiry has not yet been carried out on the Easter Sunday terror attacks.
On August 13, a statement signed by 14 bishops said: “It has been our earnest appeal to the government that an impartial inquiry be held and the perpetrators brought before the law.
“The CBCSL (Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka) is profoundly saddened to note that a just and a fair investigation has not yet taken place.”
A Daesh-linked group carried out suicide bombings in Sri Lanka on 21 April which killed 263 people and injured hundreds of others.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena appointed a three-member committee to investigate the attack.
Chief of Police Pujith Jayasundara and Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando were arrested on the grounds of dereliction of duty and criminal negligence. However, they were both released on bail, whilst the committee’s report is yet to be published, which the bishops lamented.
“The report of the three-member presidential commission is yet to see the light of day. The people are waiting to see the results of this inquiry as it was promised to them.”
“We urge once again the government and all political leaders of the country to ensure an independent and impartial inquiry as a matter of utmost urgency,” they said.
The bishops urged the government to put all of its efforts into identifying the perpetrators of the attacks. “As a matter of justice, the final aim of the inquiries should be to ascertain who the perpetrators are and who aided and abetted in any way in these dastardly acts,” they said.
“It is important to do justice by bringing those responsible before the law of the country.”
The bishops noted that “fear and uncertainty” had taken hold of the Sri Lankan people as a result of the government’s failure to provide assurances.
“The government is yet to give an assurance to the people that there is only one set of laws in the country for everyone,” they said.
They also praised the efforts of the armed forces and police in enabling daily life to continue, “despite the gloomy situation.”
Picture: A person mourns at Sellakanda Catholic cemetery in Negombo, Sri Lanka, April 23, 2019, two days after the suicide bomb attacks. (CNS photo/Athit Perawongmetha, Reuters)