March22 , 2023

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    Christians in Sri Lanka heard Mass on Sunday, March 7, wearing black as they prayed for justice for the victims of the double suicide bomb attacks on Easter Sunday two years ago.

    Church bells simultaneously rang at 8:45 am, the time when suicide bombers detonated explosives on two Roman Catholic churches and a Protestant church on April 21, 2019. Three major hotels were also bombed, as terrorists aimed for locals and foreigners who were eating breakfast, reports ABC News.

    We believe there should be unity and brotherhood among different ethnic and religious groups all over the world. –Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith

    The incident killed more than 260 people and left hundreds injured. People blamed two local groups associated with the Islamic State group which later claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Church leaders urged Christians to dress in black that Sunday as a sign of protest. Worshippers chanted a series of prayers as they called for justice for those who died in the terror attacks.

    The previous government formed a presidential inquiry commission to investigate and the latter submitted its final report to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Parts of the report were given to Catholic and Buddhist religious leaders, and to the attorney general for legal action.

    However, Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith was not satisfied with the report and criticized the then-government for its inaction on early foreign intelligence warnings regarding the attacks.

    “The most important requirement of the commission has not been fulfilled,” the Archbishop said. “The misdirection is that instead of concentrating on…finding the people who were directly responsible for this sad event, the focus has gone in the direction of whether those in power at the time fulfilled their responsibilities or not.”

    One of the worshippers, Manilal Ranasinghe, said, “We believe the commission report is not genuine and it did not do any justice to those who suffered.”

    Ranjith pointed out that instead of putting the blame on the previous government, the commission should have identified the perpetrators and exposed the sources of funding of the terrorist groups. “No one who wants to promote hatred and religious strife will receive our support. We believe there should be unity and brotherhood among different ethnic and religious groups all over the world,” he said.