Sri Lanka’s bishops call for release of Easter terror attack inquiry

Two Sri Lankan women outside St. Anthony’s Church, Colombo on April 21, 2020 to mark one year since the Easter Sunday attacks. The church was shut due to COVID-19 measures. (Photo by Ruwan Walpola/ via

The Catholic bishops of Sri Lanka have called on the government to release the results of an inquiry into the 2019 Easter Sunday bomb attacks that killed more than 260 people.

The church leaders have expressed alarm over the decision of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to appoint a new committee to study the report of a presidential body tasked to look into the incident.

“We have a lot of doubts about this whole process, the whole thing is getting delayed,” said Bishop Winston Fernando, head of the bishops’ conference, in an interview with the Associated Press.

“If there are people involved, they want to protect them, I suppose, what else?” said the prelate who questioned the composition of the new committee.

The bomb attacks on April 21, 2019, were blamed on two local Muslim groups who had pledged allegiance to the so-called Islamic State.

The targets were two Catholic churches, a Protestant church, and people eating breakfast at three top tourist hotels. A total of 171 people were killed in the Catholic churches.

Earlier, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, expressed disappointment over the government’s investigation into the Easter Sunday explosions.

Cardinal Ranjith said he would ask for help from international organizations if the government would fail to serve justice to victims of the bombings.

The cardinal said the investigations “seemed as if they were carried out for the sake of investigating with no genuine interest.”

The cardinal said the investigations have only focused on the failure to prevent the attack and not on the possible masterminds behind it.

Cardinal Ranjith has written to Rajapaksa earlier this month requesting a copy of the report. -