22 October, 2021

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Easter Sunday Attacks: Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Special Statement To The Nation

We are all still reeling from the shock and sorrow of the terrorist attack on Easter Sunday. The goal of the perpetrators behind this inhuman act was to start a bloodbath in our country. But Sri Lanka stood together, and we have not allowed this tragedy to create conflict among our communities.

The Catholic Church, led by His Eminence the Cardinal, our venerable Mahanayakes and the Maha Sangha, Muslim and Hindu religious leaders, civil society organizations and village-level leaders, all committed themselves to maintain the peace that prevailed across the land before this calamity. The Muslim community proved their commitment to social harmony. Our people gave their fullest support to the police and security forces. 

For this, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all of you.

We lost many of our brothers & sisters and children in this attack. A number of foreigners were killed. Among them were foreign nationals who had come here to help our people. Others were here to enjoy the beauty and hospitality of our country. The exact number of lives lost is being determined. Currently, around 149 people are receiving medical attention. We wish them all a speedy recovery.

The value of human lives lost cannot be measured by money. But the Government immediately offered 1 lakh for funeral purposes and pledged a further 9 lakhs per family as compensation. 

The Government will rebuild the three churches affected by the attack. I have discussed with His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, along with the State Minister of Defence and Heads of the Security Forces, about resuming the regular worship in our Churches. We are working hard to ensure the safe resumption of all religious activities. 

I commend our defence forces for swiftly cracking down and apprehending many suspects within a short period of time. Investigations are progressing at a satisfactory pace. Within the limitations of the information that I can divulge, it is clear that this attack has been diligently planned in great detail over a long period of time. A daring operation of this magnitude could not have been pulled off without the knowledge and support of international elements. We have received information that some of the suspects are currently in foreign countries. In such a situation, we need foreign assistance and expertise. 

This group commenced their operations by defacing Buddhist statues in Mawanella. Next, they shot at the Secretary of one of our Ministers, accusing him of providing intelligence about them. The Secretary is a Muslim himself. Now they have targeted the Christians. 

It is only a small group that launched this terrorist attack. The majority of them have been arrested along with explosives. A few more remain on the run and we have to apprehend them. Until then, they remain a threat and the danger is not completely over. Therefore, all of us have to be watchful and vigilant. Let’s help the Police and tri-forces secure the safety of every Sri Lankan. 

I would like to draw your attention to another important point. 

The Yahapalana Government has taken many steps to strengthen the security forces since we came to power. The intelligence wing was equipped with advanced expertise and provided all the facilities they needed. There were periodic intelligence reports pertaining to the local groups and individuals connected to this attack. Specific information about this dastardly act had been provided by foreign intelligence sources. 

While I reiterate the fact that I did not receive this critical information prior to the attack, I do not run away from my responsibility. 

As Prime Minister, I share in the collective responsibility for this. I express my sincere regret to the people of our country for the Government’s lapse.  

But, it is not enough to simply apologise. We have to make sure these mistakes are never repeated in the future. We must take measures to prevent such systemic failures, and commit ourselves to safeguard all human life.

I vow to make this my mission.   

The world is already at war against this ideological fanaticism. We now know that these attackers are linked to the ISIS network of extremists who operate from a large number of countries. This global terror has already infiltrated Asian countries such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Maldives. 

Therefore this terror cannot be fought alone by us at a national level. The explosion might be in Sri Lanka, but the trigger might be elsewhere. The planning and training could be done in a foreign country. The brainwashing could take place anywhere. Without weeding out all these elements, we cannot eliminate this danger.

I humbly urge you not to fall prey to false propaganda. 

Countries that faced such attacks made changes to their internal legal systems. They introduced new laws to combat global terrorism. But countries that did not experience such situations did not focus their attention on such measures. 

Sri Lanka has a very narrow definition of aiding terrorism. Therefore, we find that our existing laws are insufficient to deal with the extraordinary situation we are faced with. If we are to efficiently combat global terrorism, we have to broaden the scope of this old definition to allow us to arrest those aiding terrorism and confiscate their property. We also have to enact laws that deal severely with academic institutions that impart extremist religious views. 

A number of clauses that deal with global terrorism were introduced into the Draft Counter Terrorism Act. We further planned to add more such clauses at the amendment stage. But these new laws have not been passed by Parliament yet. 

That is not enough. We need a programme to rehabilitate those who don’t directly support terrorist acts, but harbour views bordering on extremism. We have seen instances in England where terrorist acts were carried out without a single weapon, by only using vehicles. That is why we need such countries to share their experience with us. 

This is a tough challenge. But I promise you that we will eliminate this enemy with the help of every peace-loving Sri Lankan, and all the nations of the world. Leaders of many countries have already pledged us their fullest support. 

This entire week our focus has been on security. The entire Government machinery has been focused on arresting the suspects and returning security to normalcy. Next week, we will have to start rebuilding the economy. 

This attack dealt a hard blow to our economy. Everyone, from the lottery seller to the large corporates, has faced a serious setback. Tourism has been crippled. According to our current calculations, the estimated damage to the economy is almost 1 billion dollars. It can easily exceed this. That is a serious situation. We must fight hard to win this economic battle as well. 

The United States Millennium Challenge Corporation Agreement we signed today is a timely boost for the economy. This gives us 500 million US dollars for development work. 

We may speak different languages, follow different faiths, and belong to different ethnicities. But we are all children of Sri Lanka maatha. Let us stand together in her service at this hour of national peril. Spread maithri, karuna, muditha and upeksha among all. 

We are a resilient people. We have been here before. And we have got through. Let’s give each other a helping hand to rise from the rubble, and get Sri Lanka back on track. Let’s face these tough times together, and secure a safe future for our children and country. 

Thank you.     

Text supplied by the Prime Minster’s Media Unit

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Latest comments

  • 9
    4

    Borah Muslim community assured to be protected to the High priest who has been here since the incident .

    Malays also not affected they both have association IDS along with the NIC.
    targets could be Mainly Moors and Mermons (because of Pakistan connection)
    Stay safe .

    JVP leader has openly accused the entire Muslim Community on TV (yes of Cause Ade derana De no 1 die hard anti muslim channel ) and openly said the entire community must be held responsible .
    Their anti Muslim agenda toxic just been exposed

  • 8
    2

    In God’s name Ranil go. You must resign and hand over the leadership to someone else who has the ability and capability to lead this country. Over the past 4 years you have proved that you are a weak, selfish, ineffective Prime Minister only interested in preserving your position. We expect a leader to have the vision, clarity of thinking and strength to lead the country and you have failed in all respects. Your time is long past and when you speak weakness abounds from your personality. You are not capable of influencing change or winning the hearts and minds of the people. Therea re some young MP’s in your party that are much better qualified and capable than you and if you have a vestige o decency lefy in your weak body and mind please resign and hand over. At least in the history books you will be remembered as a PM who fucked his country up.

  • 7
    9

    Apparently what happened in Kalmunai by Rapist Army is not just simply an unplanned operation. It sounds like usual barbaric operation of the Rapist Army. They vacated the entire population of that area. Many took refuge in Local Mosques. That is highly excessive at this stage. They have been accusing LTTE’s (1995) removing a community in its operation area as ethnic cleansing. By all the news I got so far, the women & children of that area had been chased of their homes for search one house. But the entire house members died after the operation sans two. The attack took place the early night but Rapist Army checked building only next day. Then about 15 people have died by wounds. Two has been saved in terrible condition. Six children and three women’s included I do not know if the women and Children were hostages by the extremist. A number 17 seems to be too much for consider it’s as one family. But only four were marked as possible suspects by Rapist Army.

    It is not clear if that was suicide or security forces shooting at residents without first announcing the extremist to surrender by a loudspeaker. So I put this comment not just for readers but even for IC too. Kalmunai or Sainthamaruthu or wherever all these are taking place should not be turned into another Mullivaaikkaal for rapist army. All operations should be under witness, videotaped. UN and Red Cross should step in those areas where the population is vacated.. Colombo Embassies should ask for viewed within a day of operation. Rapist Army’s excess should be investigated.
    Aanduwa’s coolies the Muslim Ministers cannot be depended. A rascal named Ashar, an appointed cooli of Old King in the Parliament asked Mano Ganesan if he had done his Sunneth to question about Muslims. TNA MPs should bring these operations to parliament irrelevant of whether they have the full penis or have done Sunneth.

  • 1
    1

    Ranil said there is no law in Lankawe to proscribe NTJ. But New King has done exactly that. One of them needs to consult a lawyer before they talk or act.

  • 3
    2

    “We may speak different languages, follow different faiths, and belong to different ethnicities. But we are all children of Sri Lanka maatha. Let us stand together in her service at this hour of national peril. Spread maithri, karuna, muditha and upeksha among all” is a familiar tongue in cheek statement the minorities are used to, especially the Tamils. It is a repeat performance of DS Senanayake who addressing the State Council in October 1945 urged Tamil legislators to vote for the Soulbury constitution of independent Ceylon presented as a White Paper. This is what he said:
    “Do you want to be governed from London or do you want, as Ceylon, to help govern Ceylon? On behalf of the (Ceylon National) Congress (founded by Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam in 1919) and on my behalf, I give the minority communities the sincere assurance that no harm need you fear at our hands in a free Lanka.”
    But DS Senanayake took the Tamils for a ride as never meant to keep his word. In 1948, the very year of Independence, D.S.Senanayake blatantly went back on the promise and bared his true colours as an unrepentant champion of Sinhala chauvinism by depriving one million Tamils of their citizenship. That was treachery at the worst! Independence for the Tamils has meant slow liquidation of their identity as a Nation that lived in a well-defined territory with their own language, arts, culture, customs and heritage. Their lands have been colonized by Sinhalese resulting in demographic changes in the eastern province. Buddhist temples and statues have mushroomed in the Northeast after the war ended. Ranil Wickremesinghe and his party promised to devolve more powers to the provincial councils by introducing a new constitution but he became chicken-hearted and abandoned the exercise. Today, what is needed is action and not pious and empty rhetoric.

    • 2
      0

      Thanga,
      May be you are not aware that Wellala politicians opposed the idea of giving citizenship to Demalu in plantations. Even now Wathu Demalu are treated very badly by other Demalu and labelled as ‘Indian Tamils’ as if others are not Indian Tamils. Excuse me, their ancestors were brought to this country from Hindusthan as slaves by Portuguese and Dutch before British created India. Wathu Demalu were brought by British after India was created. That is a good reason to make the distinction.
      Yapanaya Demalu – First class
      Tirikunamale Demalu – Second class
      Madakalapuwa Demalu – Third class
      Wathu Demalu – Forth class
      ———-
      Demalu never lived in a well-defined territory in Sinhale. Even now they live in few pockets; Yapanaya, Tirikunamale, Madakalapuwa, Kanda Udarata. Everything, language, arts, culture, customs and heritage that Demalu have are what they brought from their homeland in South India.
      ———–
      North Eastern part of the country was where Sinhalayo had their first Kingdoms; Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. Demalu came and destroyed those kingdoms, colonized Sinhala land and changed the demography.

  • 3
    3

    Stupid MAlleyuren: If the Terrorists had huge bombs or stocks of ammunition, Steal balls, High Plastic Explosives, that building would have exploded the whole neighbourhood. so, that is the professional method. They must evacuate the whole area.
    My only regret is why Tamils were not caught in this.

    • 0
      1

      You don’t know, don’t ask me; FBI is there; let them deal with it. I never worked with American police agencies.

      You have been waiting for two years with these bombs after all Muslim organization were kept warning; that time it won’t blast off in the neighborhood; but it is going to blast between 11:30 PM and 6AM (Saturday)? I thought you write for only Slap Party, when did you start to take money from Ranil? Remember Ranil’s bank accounts fueled with Oil. Don’t go against Muslims.

      If you don’t have night goggle why did you start the raid in the night? Why did you kill children those the extremist were holding as hostages. I am even sure even all the women there were hostage because you are blocking the MMDA reversal and keeping all Muslim women 24/7 hostages to the Sinhala Buddhist Hegemony!

      Man, instead of fooling me, tell the FBI to take over from that point. You cannot do this.

  • 7
    0

    I totally disagree with Ali Sabry’s endorsement of the emergency law.

    It need to be amended , no one under the emergency law should be denied legal councel and not be detained more than an hour without the approval of a Judge .

    From 70’s to the end of the last war , we have some miserable memories of victims of all communities.

    Some people abused the law and used it to take revenge and in some cases to take advantage of sexual assaults and a lot of incidents were blamed on security , most of it todate are not been proved, which means most of the accusations against our Security forces were false and the real crimnals are free, very unfair.

    The danger of the emergency law is criminals too can abuse it and have abused it in the past.
    So I kindly request HE The President to move a motion to amend the law in a away that no innocent citizen suffers or no Criminal abuse it to take revenge.
    Our Emergency law is out dated and not in line with human rights .
    No Innocent must suffer of pay for the crimes of real Terrorists.

    Our international image is most important.
    May God bless Sri Lanka with peace and protect it.

  • 4
    0

    Dear Mr.Ali Sabry
    By all means continue to represent Mr.Gotabaya Rajapaksha, after all that is your profession and what you are paid for ,you have all the right to do so.

    But please don’t drag the Muslim community in your Presidential Candidate propaganda in Ade Dera( which ade derana is desperately working day and night to do so)
    and please refrain from endorsing judgement on the community ,you may be a very efficient lawyer but that does not give you the right to talk for the entire community.

    we neither need people like you or Rizvy Muffti .to tell us how to go about our religion ,Islam has no priesthood.

    we will form our own community association and we will communicate with His Eminence The Cardinal.
    we as a whole community are extremely grateful to him and the entire Christian community .

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