Sri Lanka’s top Catholic leader on Wednesday (12) slammed the government over the Easter Sunday suicide attacks, saying the country lacked a “firm political leadership”, as he re-consecrated the St Anthony’s Church which was severely damaged in the jihadi assault.
The 19th century Church was badly damaged in the worst terror attack in Sri Lanka’s history on April 21, which was carried out by the suicide bombers of the now banned National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ) terror outfit, killing 258 people and injuring over 500 others.
The roof, walls and pews of the neo-classical style Catholic church, situated in Kochchikade here, suffered extensive damage in the devastating serial blasts.
The Sri Lankan Navy carried out the restoration work of the 185-year-old Church.
As a result of suicide bombing, the Church had been desecrated, therefore, there was a need to reconsecrate it by spraying the holy water before re-dedicating it to the God at a special service, the Church officials said.
The special service was held by the Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith.
Addressing the gathering, he attacked the country’s political leadership, saying the country was lacking a firm political leadership.
“The public has doubts about political leadership. Let’s pray for a leadership with a backbone,” Cardinal Ranjith said.
“We want a leadership who would not do wrong, a leadership that will not protect the wrongdoers, a leadership that will punish the wrongdoers,” he added.
Suicide bombers of the NTJ carried out blasts in three churches and as many luxury hotels, frequented by foreigners in Sri Lanka, on Easter Sunday killing 258 people and leaving over 500 others injured.
The blasts – one of the deadliest attacks in the country’s history – targeted St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and Zion Church in the eastern town of Batticaloa when the Easter Sunday mass were in progress.
Following the blasts, President Maithripala Sirisena fired the Sri Lankan police chief and his top defense ministry bureaucrat for intelligence failure.
The opposition accused the government of not taking preventive action due to the ongoing political infighting between Sirisena and Sri Lankan prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Sirisena last week fired salvo against the parliamentary probe on the bombings.
He did not call this week’s cabinet meeting in protest saying the move was aimed at politically cornering him.