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Are you wearing clothes, Cardinal asks Maithripala

  • Launches stunning verbal attack on former President

 

In a stunning verbal assault, Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday (4) called for action to be initiated against former President Maithripala Sirisena without further delay and asked whether the former President has no shame.

“The question arises whether some politicians who have been named as being responsible for the attacks are shameless enough to go before the people once again. I heard that the former President is seeking re-election? How can somebody who knew about the deaths and went abroad contest an election? How can he be the leader of a party? I would like to ask him if he is wearing clothes when he says these things?”

Cardinal Ranjith made these comments speaking to the media after Easter Sunday services held at St. Lucia’s Cathedral in Kotahena yesterday.

“The final report of the PCoI (Presidential Commission of Inquiry) on Easter Sunday attacks clearly indicates the people who were involved in the Easter attack. So why aren’t they punished. The ministers who were involved in this attack are still in Parliament, and this is a shame to the country,” he added.

Participating in the “Black Sunday” silent protest on 7 March and speaking to the media, he said: “We wanted the commission to find out who was behind this attack. We do not know to what extent it has been achieved. I’m reading that (PCoI) report these days. Many of the things recommended in this report can be implemented. It is especially important to enforce the law against those who have committed crimes.”

The Head of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka said earlier that the Government should be more committed to bringing the perpetrators of the tragedy to justice.

“My feeling is that the Government needs to be more committed to conducting an honest investigation. I wondered if it was necessary to appoint another committee of six members,” he questioned.

“What is needed here is for the President to directly direct himself to what he has to do on a practical level. It would be wrong to choose only a certain part of them and punish them only. This protest movement will continue with the involvement of other religious organisations until we get a definite sign,” Cardinal Ranjith said, adding that this was an issue that affected the people of the whole country.

The six-member committee is also ready to present the report recommendations soon to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, according to Co-Cabinet Spokesman and Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila.

Speaking to The Morning, he said the committee is waiting for an appointment from President Rajapaksa to handover the report.

“Minister of Irrigation Chamal Rajapaksa, who is the chairman of the committee, is still waiting for the appointment,” he said.

Former President Sirisena appointed the PCoI in September 2019 to probe the co-ordinated suicide bomb attacks by terrorists on 21 April 2019, targeting hotels and churches, which cost 270 lives, injured over 500, and destroyed property. Accordingly, the Commission recorded evidence from 457 persons over 214 days to compile the six-volume report.

The report was handed over to President Rajapaksa by PCoI Chairman Supreme Court Judge Justice Janak de Silva at the Presidential Secretariat on 1 February. It comprises 472 pages, 215 annexures, and six volumes. The first and second interim reports were handed over to the President on 20 December 2019 and on 2 March 2020, respectively.

The Commission comprises Chairman Justice de Silva, Court of Appeal Judge Justice Nishshanka Bandula Karunaratne, retired High Court Judges Nihal Sunil Rajapaksha and A.L. Bandula Kumara Atapattu, former Secretary to the Ministry of Justice R. Adhikari, and Secretary to the Commission Buwaneka Herath.