The Parish Priest of St Anthony’s Church Kollupitiya paid a glowing tribute to opposition MPs and law enforcement officers like jailed SSP Shani Abeysekera, for having the courage of their conscience to speak out in parliament and seek justice for victims of the 2019 Easter Sunday terror attacks.
Addressing a seminar recently, Father Julian Patrick Perera said all those who felt a pricking of conscience about the murder of innocent people on Easter Sunday 25 months ago, had to honour the courage of law enforcement officials like SSP Shani Abeysekera and other members of the armed forces and intelligence services who pursued justice for the victims with truthfulness and integrity.
Father Perera, who spoke at length about how important it was for those who seek to dispense justice for the aggrieved to heed the call of conscience, expressed heartfelt gratitude to opposition lawmakers Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Harin Fernando, Manusha Nanayakkara and Eran Wickremaratne for having the courage to speak out about the attacks in Parliament.
“Every nation needs a conscience. That is the challenge before the political leadership today. Awaken your conscience – not only about the terrorism on Easter Sunday two years ago, but about all the violence and murder that goes on in this country,” the Catholic priest urged.
“Is the religious leadership heeding the call of conscience? Do you heed the call of conscience when the poor and vulnerable are being murdered? Will you speak out?” he asked.
Father Julian Patrick Perera said the Catholic community was grateful to the Buddhist clergy who have eschewed racism and religious division to raise a voice for justice for the victims of the Easter bombings in 2019.
Fr. Perera quoted Russian writer and philosopher Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who said “justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually recognize also the voice of justice.”
“If you are working in the judicial sector, first and foremost you must be a person who heeds the call of conscience. Only those who heed this call should be involved in the dispensation of justice,” Fr. Perera noted, referring to Solzhenitsyn’s words.
“We are grateful to law enforcement officers like SSP Shani Abeysekera and other officials in the intelligence forces who worked with truthfulness and integrity to achieve justice for victims,” Fr Perera noted.
Shani Abeysekera, the former Director of the CID who is widely regarded as the country’s best criminal investigator in a generation, has been remanded on flimsy, fabricated charges that he manufactured evidence that resulted in a conviction and death sentence to a hardened criminal and contract killer by by a three judge bench of the High Court.
Vas Gunewardane, former DIG who led the Colombo Crimes Division and loyalist of the Rajapaksa regime, is currently awaiting a verdict on his appeal from the Supreme Court. Abeysekera’s arrest and imprisonment is believed to be an attempt to assist that appeal process in the Supreme Court by casting doubt upon the CID investigation that led to the prosecution and conviction of the former top-cop and loyalist of current President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Watch full speech by Father Julian Patrick Perera here.