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Archbishop of Colombo accuses Sri Lankan government of stalling investigations into Easter bombings

The head of Sri Lanka’s Roman Catholic Church accused the government of stalling investigations into Easter Sunday bombings two years ago that killed 279 people.

Even after arresting 200 people within days of the attacks, no one has been charged yet.

Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith on Wednesday said he was “deeply saddened” by the lack of progress in the investigation.




“We have to stress that what is happening at the moment is an attitude of ‘no care’ where all factors are not properly investigated,” the cardinal said at a commemorative service in Colombo.

Ranjith reportedly accused the government of political posturing and the need to protect alliances had hindered the probe.

The cardinal has previously called for former president Maithripala Sirisena to be prosecuted for failing to prevent the attacks despite advance warnings.



An investigation ordered by Sirisena soon after the bombings found that he and his intelligence officials had precise information from India about the attack 17 days earlier, but failed to act.

Sirisena, who did not offer himself for re-election in November 2019 polls, is currently a legislator with the party of his successor Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Although none of the 200 in custody have been indicted, 16 men among them were charged on Tuesday in connection with desecrating Buddhist statues in December 2018.

The authorities have said that the destruction of the statues in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka was the forerunner to the Easter Sunday attacks four months later.

Last week Sri Lanka banned 11 organisations, including the ISIL (ISIS) group and al-Qaeda.

Anyone linked to the groups – the other nine of which are local religious and social organisations – faces up to 20 years in jail, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said in a gazette notification.

Muslims, who make up nearly 10 percent of Sri Lanka’s 21 million people, have faced increased attacks from majority Sinhala Buddhist hardliners following the end of a civil war between Tamil separatists and government forces in 2009.