By M.A. Sumanthiran –
Today’s Daily Mirror front page has this ‘gossip’ which is dangerously misleading. It implies that I was to attend the Easter Service at Zion Church, Batticaloa on April 21st but desisted from doing so because President Mahinda Rajapaksa called and warned me of the impending suicide attack! I wish to categorically state that this is absolutely false.
On April 21st I attended an Easter service in Colombo as usual, unaware of any threat. When I learnt of the ‘bomb blasts’ I went to the Kochchikade St. Anthony’s Church and met Rev Fr. Jude Fernando and other clergy. Several bodies were still lying at the explosion site. It was there that I got to know that this was a suicide attack. Thereafter I went to the Accident Service of the National Hospital where I met the Secretary to the Health Ministry, Director Health Services, the Hospital Director and others. I also went to the Casualty Ward to see some of the injured.
Later that evening I spoke to the President of the Pastor’s Fellowship in Batticaloa and decided to go to Batticaloa the next day to meet the affected people and attend some funerals. I got to Batticaloa by about 8.30am on April 22nd and along with the said Pastor and our Party General Secretary Mr Thurairajasingam, visited several funeral houses. We also attended the burial of the young son of another pastor at the cemetery.
While still in Batticaloa, Mr Mavai Senathirajah, the President of our Party spoke to me and Mr Thurairajasingam and we decided call for a day of mourning (NOT Hartal) in the North and East and set the date as 24th April for that purpose. Mr Senathirajah, who was in Jaffna at that time, told me that he had visited the catholic Bishop of Jaffna and the Northern Governer and had informed them of this decision. I said we would do the same in Batticaloa and we accordingly visited the catholic Bishop of Batticaloa and the Eastern Governer and informed them of our decision to observe the day of mourning, before returning to Colombo.
The false ‘gossip’ published today has necessitated this long post. I never had any intention of attending the Easter service at Zion Church nor was I warned by anyone of any impending attack on that Church.