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Bishops propose interim government in Sri Lanka

Protesters injured in a recent clash in Colombo, Sri Lanka on May 9, 2022. (Photo by RVA News)

The Catholic Bishops' Conference in Sri Lanka (CBCSL) on May 11 said the country needs to have an interim government to bring peace and address the ongoing economic crises. 
 
"An interim government has to be established to ensure the protection of life and property, freedom of expression, and movement,” Bishop Julian Winston Sebastian Fernando, president of CBCSL said in a statement. 
 
In addition to Bishop Fernando of Badulla, the pastoral letter was also signed by CBCSL Secretary-General Bishop Anthony Jayakody of Colombo. 
 
Bishop Fernando addressed this subject to condemn the state-sponsored violence unleashed on peaceful demonstrations to preserve political power and unjustly gain wealth at the expense of the country's entire population.
 
As many as nine people were killed and more than 300 injured during the clashes, police said.

The bishop said that the people behind the horrible acts of violence and who had threatened and taken advantage of the people were guilty of crimes against humanity.
 
"Violence is no solution to resolve problems," said Bishop Fernando. 
 
In addition, he asked the police and security forces to protect the public and never to harm peaceful protestors, as it is their democratic and legal right to do so.
 
Instead, the bishop encouraged the authorities to probe crooked politicians who robbed people and the country of genuine growth.
 
Furthermore, the bishop begs the government to supply food and other necessities to the people.
 
"We insist that everyone's basic needs be met right away because people are very stressed out by the lack of availability and skyrocketing prices of basic goods," reads the pastoral letter.
 
The bishop also asked the interim government to fill government positions with honest, qualified, conscientious civilians who would serve the country without political bias or influence.
 
Since April 3, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Sri Lankan Parliament have fought over who has the most power. This has caused the Sri Lankan political crisis of 2022.
 
Due to the country's economic crisis, widespread anti-government protests and demonstrations have exacerbated the crisis. 
 
An analyst says that since the end of the civil war, Sri Lanka has not had such a level of political instability due to anti-government sentiment in many sections of the country.
 
An anti-government demonstration camp in the commercial metropolis of Colombo was stormed on May 11 by supporters of former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, the president's older brother. 
 
The island nation is experiencing its worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948 from the British.
 
Sri Lanka's Catholics consist of 12 dioceses and one archdiocese. There are roughly 1.2 million Catholics, which accounts for approximately 6.1% of the population. - With inputs from Kasmir Nema and RVA Sri Lanka

 

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