18 May, 2024


Easter Sunday Mayhem – The Cardinal Issue Confronting The Nation! 

By Rusiripala Tennakoon –

Rusiripala Tennakoon

The memories of the awful carnage that shook the entire world on 21st April 2019 appears to be  gradually fading with the passage of time. It has left behind about 300 bereaved families, over 500 severely injured persons with  some confined to lifelong disability. But the growing dis content like embers of a fire in the hearts of the disgruntled elements fuelled by the long-delayed justice they expected on behalf of the victims, is about to blow up. The nature of events currently developing surrounding the issue, indicating an element of evasiveness associated with some kind of dubious delaying tactics of the authorities, is heavily contributing to this state of affairs. 

These reactions and sentiments of the people are not unwarranted when viewed broadly in the context of the past theatrics and fanciful dramas staged in this connection. Starting from mimic sight visit of the former Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando to the Kochchikade church premises area a few hours after the bomb blast under the cover of media publicity, showing up his sartorial elegance (quite ludicrous to such a tragic moment) making a statement to media  that the “government cannot provide security and protection to private hotels!”, many happenings and events staged by the then regime displayed the  scanty regard shown by them to that heinous crime. People got a feeling that it looked like something those in authority expected to happen. 

The parliamentary select committee of inquiry was equally hilarious totally failing to give an impression of any seriousness to uncover the truth behind the crime. It looked a mock trial with an ostensible intention to shirk the responsibilities rather than eliciting vital information to get to the bottom of the matter. Answers to questions raised in parliament too sounded funny and absurd. Some parliamentarians made a hue and cry that the proceedings will be made available  live to the public but during the course of the investigations some officers were questioned in locations outside the parliament without the presence of journalists. Eg.It was reported that  SIS Director, Senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardena was questioned for over 5 hours by the parliamentary Select committee on the 24th of July 2019 at a location outside the parliament. It has gone on from 8pm to 1 am. So, the rhetoric to ensure transparency of the proceedings became a baloney serving as an eyewash. But public became aware that there were many things to be hidden from the people. What they are, and why so, are matters that remain to be answered and yet to be clarified.

PSC ended and there was no concrete outcome. Then President Sirisena for some reason decided to appoint a “Commission of Inquiry to investigate and inquire into and report OR take necessary action on the bomb attacks on 21st April, 2019” and issued a gazette notification to this effect on 25th September, 2019. This action taken by President Sirisena indicates presumably that Either no useful purpose has been served by the PSC, OR the PSC has not successfully completed the task. It may be that he thought {again presumably} the PSC is either trying to fix the responsibility on some party or parties Or trying to absolve some -one who is really responsible.(We have to be pardoned for our conjectures). 

The fact that the Notice to Public by gazette included a clause reading, “to hold prompt, impartial, complete investigations and inquiries regarding complaints, information and other materials referred to in Para 1 of the same notification”. Para 1 read as follows;

To call and receive public complaints, information and other materials against public servants/officers or other persons who were working at the time or who still work or any other persons who are alleged to have direct or indirect connections to the bomb explosion that took place on 21th April 2019  causing loss of life or damages to properties or regarding acts or abuse or misuse of power and such other alleged acts and/or omissions.”

President’s action initiated following the much publicized PSC conducted with a big media show infers that the PSC has failed to extract the information properly. We do not know whether the President thought that they did it deliberately or whether the PSC had no clear mandate to do such a thing. The question that comes to our mind is if that is so why did the PSC conduct this media show? 

Now after the completion of the inquiry by the Presidential Commission the releasing of the report has become a big issue. To make matters worse it has been decided to hand over the report to a seven-member committee comprising of MPs and Ministers of the Governing party before taking a decision whether to release it to the public or not. So now there is a big commotion about this matter. It appears that the government is studying the report to take a decision whether to release it or not. The big question before the people is whether there is any information that the government is unwilling to release to the public in this report. 

This has led to a situation where the Opposition political parties who were in power when this incident took place now becoming accusers demanding the release of the report. They were all this time very much in the defense for the security lapses during their regime. But now they have taken an upper hand pointing the accusing finger at the government claiming that it is the government that has something to hide from the people. The growing public agitation demanding the release of the report is intensified owing to this situation.

The history of Commission reports, particularly in the recent past has been a quite strange affair. We remember what happened when the report on the Central Bank Bond scam  was to be tabled in parliament. The government of the day, Yahapalanya regime, master minded a stunt to be used as a ruse to avoid its tabling. They got their most reliable ally TNA MP, Sumanthiram to raise an objection on the grounds that there was no Tamil Translation of the Report. To date it was not tabled. They followed another stunt. That is to table a commission report of findings on allegations of corruption against some ministers and MPs of the Rajapakse regime simultaneously with the Bond Scam report and insisted that parliament should take both reports for discussion. Apparently, both went down the drain very much likely due to a mutual understanding reached by both parties.

There is a strange coincidence today. A report of a Commission appointed by the Rajapakse government to examine the legality and the constitutionality of the ACC ( Anti Corruption Committee) and the ACCS (Anti Corruption Committee Secretariat) of the Yahapalana Regime has released its report and remains to be tabled in parliament. It is reported that the Commissioners have held that 22 persons with the former Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and a number of former ministers, TNA leaders JVP leader and a few others including PMs Secretary are to be dealt with for having violated the constitution and misused public property. There is a  strong speculation that the punishment is deprivation of civic rights for the politicians and other forms of punishment including imprisonment for officials.

While the Opposition is making a cry for the tabling of the Easter Sunday report government is ready with a report of a commission appointed to examine political victimization is ready with recommendations to penalize big wigs of the Yahapalana regime. So judging from the past experiences it is not unlikely that both will stay put if the Easter Sunday report is adversely affecting some Ranil/Sirisena government supporters  now in the Government.

There is another significantly important factor that has entered into the playing field on the Easter Sunday issue which cannot be easily disregarded. His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith is in the forefront strongly pressing the government not only to release the Easter Sunday Commission Report in full but also to punish all those responsible directly and indirectly for causing this mayhem. His Eminence is a totally apolitical force that command an undisputed respect among all walks of the Sri Lankan society. From day one of this disastrous happening the cardinal played a positive role, in the first instance to avoid any religious or communal riots, and also did not spare his efforts to obtain relief and redress to the victims. 

His acceptance goes beyond the religious background as a prelate of the highest order. All religious leaders, in particular the high priests of the Buddhist clergy have an extremely close rapport and understanding with his Eminence. Cardinal Ranjith is well recognized by the religious leaders as well as independent social groups for his involvement in matters of extreme national Importance. His Eminence played a dynamic role in bringing together the highest representative religious grouping in this country to oppose the MCC agreement and successfully put together the view points of the Mahanayaka Theros of the two chapters along with himself to issue a public statement during the Ranil /Sirisena era when the threat of MCC culminated to a virtual climax stage of signing the agreement. His Eminence  even defied the pressure brought on him  against his involvements in the issue by the American Ambassador. Cardinal’s unique standing in the International scenario among various pressure groups is a further strength for fortifying his stand. 

Cardinal Ranjith has stood up encouraging the people to defend the threats to environment on several occasions. These sacrifices have earned him a strong backing from the religious leaders, social groups and peace loving ordinary citizens. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjiths strong commitment to stand firm seeking justice to the victims of the Easter Sunday massacre and his determination to legally penalize those responsible for the heinous crime committed by them will be a strong deterrent to any move to soft peddle the Easter Sunday Issue . 

Government, in particular the President, will have to take cognizance of these factors and whatever is the gravity of punishments to be imposed to perpetrators, he will have to implement those disregarding any status issues. If it becomes necessary for him to take drastic steps for the sake of justice, he will be rewarded by Peoples Support over and above any threats or challenges from any pressure groups. 

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  • 0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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    • 5

      If the Cardinal is “well recognized by the religious leaders as well as independent social groups for his involvement in matters of extreme national Importance.”, why has he never said a word about theuslim burial issue ? Why is he picking fights with other Christians but not saying a word about Buddhist attacks on Catholic churches?

      • 2

        Sorry, the Muslim burial issue.

  • 2

    Rusiri starts with few liners pretending to show some empathy for the victims and family, but soon delves into his hidden purpose of writing this article. Did you say you were an activist one time in Geneva ??? God save UN and Lanka. There was one who use to write such articles for CT who is no more. But Rusiri seems to have filled that void.

  • 4

    “The memories of the awful carnage that shook the entire world on 21st April 2019 appears to be gradually fading with the passage of time.”
    Memories many a carnage in this country that should have shaken the world, if it had not done so for some reason, have faded away for we do not learn from our tragic errors.
    That besides, the writer himself has forgotten the orgy of violence that followed the carnage of 21.4.2019. Was there not a conspiracy to commit violence against a community?
    Why has not anyone that matters in public affairs demanded an inquiry into it, alongside the inquiries into the carnage of 21.4.2019?
    Will it not educate us about the causes underlying the sad event of 21.4.2019?

  • 5

    …when the report on the Central Bank Bond scam was to be tabled in parliament…(the) Yahapalanya regime, masterminded a stunt to be used as a ruse to avoid its tabling. They got their most reliable ally TNA MP, Sumanthiram to raise an objection on the grounds that there was no Tamil Translation of the Report.”
    Here is an important rule about documents to be placed before Parliament. Why did the commission fail to provide a Tamil translation? If it provided texts in English and Sinhala why not in the other official language?
    If Tamil translations were not provided for such documents in the past, then the author has a case, but it exposes a a serious procedural flaw.
    Does the author think that Tamil MPs have no right to a Tamil translation?
    Could not Sumanthiran have been more cunning than he was and got someone else to raise the issue, and avert getting snared by a conspiracy theorist?
    Conspiracy theories make sense when they are consistent in their analysis.

  • 3

    I appreciate Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith’s refusal to meet a delegation of “Catholic MPs” from the Government. He has insisted that the “Report” be made available to the Parliament. This “Delegation” of “Catholic MPs” is a “Dirty Trick” and a “Shameful” attempt to “Hoodwink” and “Distract” the attention of the people from the main issues. I hope, this would be an “Eye Opener” for the rest of the people in, not to get trapped into these types of “DIRTY TRICKS” played by the Government. The PEOPLE must decide “Enough is Enough” and make a firm resolve to stand against these dirty moves by the Authorities.

  • 2

    After 20A action of Cardinal, I am not sure if Cardinal is a honest person or he is an actor in Rajapakse drama. His opposition to 20A was a simple statement..”I will support what the Buddhist Monks do”. Is this a honest statement of a Religious Leader of a country where Democracy vanished with the amendment?

    • 3

      Cardinal had been dishonest from the start, defending crimes of Mahinda Rajapakse. He was denied visa to enter UK due to denial of war crimes. During last regime he was vociferous in saying that he will bring his flock to the road, if culprits of Easter bombings are not punished. Now he has to save face to please the Catholics and is staging this drama. He knows very well that the prime suspects are Mahinda and Gotabhaya. Chinese embassy masterminded this and roped Sirisena into the plot with a promise of being given a second term as president. Without the knowledge and consent of Sirisena this would never have happened. Muslim terror groups were funded and supported by Rajapakse brothers to cause trouble to Tamils in the east. Commission must have mentioned names of several prominent people who are involved in it, but have given financial and political support to Rajapakse brothers.

  • 0

    Rusiri, here comes the end to your BS. PSC report is released. I guess you did not expect it to happen. The report seems fairly decent and complete, but your masters Rajapaksas redacted to conceal the real mastermind behind it. Will you write another BS explaining it.

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