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22 Jul, 2019 11:07

‘Election gimmicks’: Head of Sri Lanka church blasts ‘selfish’ govt over Easter bombings probe

‘Election gimmicks’: Head of Sri Lanka church blasts ‘selfish’ govt over Easter bombings probe

The head of Sri Lanka’s Roman Catholic Church has lambasted the country’s government over its alleged failure to avert the tragic Easter week bombings there, which killed 258 and left hundreds permanently injured.

The selfish power-hungry leaders did not worry about ordinary people... The leaders did not heed intelligence warnings... the [country’s] Security Council did not meet since October because of the power struggle,” Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said on Sunday.

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The Cardinal was speaking at a ceremony in one of the three churches in Colombo that was targeted by suicide bombers along with three luxury hotels on April 21. Ranjith claims the authorities had failed to identify those behind the bombings ahead of the tragedy, because of a power struggle within the government between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The current leaders have failed. They have no backbone. They must leave the government and go home.

The Cardinal lamented that he had no faith in the inquiries launched by the authorities to probe the bombings and the blind spots in the intelligence leading to the tragedy, slamming these as mere “election gimmicks.” He also criticized the United Nations for apparently taking interest in the lives of those arrested in connection with the bombings instead of attending to the victims of the blasts.

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Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, though Sri Lankan authorities have also blamed two domestic Islamist groups: National Thawheedh Jamaath (NTJ) and Jamathei Millathu Ibrahim.Following the bombings, authorities declared a state of emergency and arrested over 100 people countrywide in counter-terrorist raids. The country’s police chief and former defense secretary are currently being probed for not acting on intelligence that preceded the attacks – Indian intelligence had sent warnings that a terror attack in Sri Lanka was imminent.

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