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Cardinal Ranjith condemns corruption in Sri Lanka

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith visits a memorial at the main cemetery in Colombo on April 18 after he opened monuments to commemorate the 279 people killed in the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks. Photo: AFP

The Catholic Church must be with the people, not on the side of the rulers and the powerful, the Sri Lankan prelate says.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has warned that Sri Lanka’s corrupt administrative system prevents citizens from finding justice and that political leaders do not want to solve the country's issues.

"During the last 70 years, a social system has been created in which the general public cannot expect justice," Cardinal Ranjith said at an event in Colombo on Oct. 4.

"No one has been able to control the corruption. The rulers have betrayed their conscience for the sake of petty advantages. Today there is a situation where only the rich and the powerful can handle the law.

"The Catholic Church must be with the people, not on the side of the rulers and the powerful."

Cardinal Ranjith, who is also the archbishop of Colombo, said a situation has arisen in which the Catholic community is unable to achieve justice for the 2019 Easter attacks.

"It does not have justice due to undue political advantage and political influence. They are in a position to put the Easter attacks under the carpet," he said.

A group of suicide bombers affiliated to local Islamist group National Thowheed Jamath attacked three churches and three luxury hotels on Easter Sunday 2019, killing at least 279 people, including 37 foreign nationals, and injuring at least 500.

State agencies received specific warnings about terror attacks, but the information was not properly shared.

Bishops, other religious leaders, civic rights activists and opposition parties have expressed their concerns about the current investigation into the attacks.

Cardinal Ranjith urged bishops, priests, nuns and all leaders to stand up for justice and the truth.

Ranil Samarasinghe, a teacher, said fraud and corruption have spread among politicians from the parliament to the municipal council.

"Politicians at the grassroots level are accused of taking bribes even if they put up a village road," said Samarasinghe.

"The prices of all commodities including rice have gone up, but the government does not seem to have taken any action."

The Church has urged the inspector general of police to undertake a comprehensive investigation into the recent statement by Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera about the possibility of another extremist attack at any time.

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris, speaking at the UN Human Rights Council on Sept. 21, said the government is open in acknowledging its challenges as a responsible and democratic government.

"We are committed to achieving tangible progress on the entire range of issues relating to accountability, reconciliation, human rights, peace and sustainable development," said Peiris.

- UCA News


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