The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka wants Islamic preachers who promote religious extremism to be banished from Sri Lanka.
Issuing a statement, the Archdiocesan Committee for Justice to Easter Sunday Attack Victims emphasised that it is the responsibility of those in power and authority to protect peace and the rule of law in the country.
The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka further urged all citizens of the country to pressure those in power to act on this urgently and to mete out justice to all the victims of the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks.
It further called on all politicians of the Government and the Opposition to refrain from any action that might hamper the independent and free implementation of the judicial process in this case.
Thereby, the Archdiocesan Committee urged all concerned that they should look out for all those who are connected to this crime directly or indirectly, such as in planning, providing financial help, political patronage, etc.; expedite further investigations on the matter and bring those responsible before the law without delay; and speed up action and the prosecution against those who have been arrested in connection with the Easter Sunday attacks.
“We wish to draw attention to the need to investigate thoroughly into all those who, during the latter years of the North and East conflict, had contacts or dealings with Zahran Hashim, who is alleged to have been the leader of the suicide bombers,” the statement said.
The Archdiocesan Committee further categorically affirmed that it is absolutely necessary to prosecute without hesitation and further delay all those political leaders and officials, irrespective of the position they held, for shirking their duty so callously and doing absolutely nothing to prevent the massacre having known sufficiently ahead of time through the reports of intelligence that such an attack would take place.
“We wish to also urge that all those extremist Islamic groups, which are a threat to national security, must be proscribed with immediate effect and their foreign sponsors and local agents, as well as those Islamic preachers who promote religious extremism through hate speech, should be banished from the country. The offensive weaponry which they have imported should be searched for and all financial sources as well as liquid and non-liquid assets that sustain such extremist terrorism activities should be confiscated,” it said.
The Archdiocesan Committee underscored that every effort should be made to implement or at least initiate the first steps in order to implement the foregoing demands before 21 April 2021, which is also the second anniversary of the attacks.
“When we look at the way the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and all the other relevant state institutions handle intelligence and find out the culprits who commit other crimes in the country taking action against them speedily, it baffles us as to why, after well-nigh two years, they cannot do so in this case, getting the culprits who murdered 269 innocent human beings and injured seriously over 300 others, some of whom remain maimed and made to go from hospital to hospital for the rest of their lives,” the statement read.
The Archdiocesan Committee questioned if there was any external interference that hampers the efficiency of these institutions in finding out who the real culprits are and in prosecuting those responsible for the attacks.
The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka further warned that if the demands are not met, they will be left with no other option but to further intensify their protest action and to extend it to the whole country. (Colombo Gazette)