Cardinal gives evidence at PCoI | Sunday Observer

Cardinal gives evidence at PCoI

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has informed the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating into the Easter Sunday attacks that the Indian High Commission (IHC) has informed him that it had informed relevant Sri Lankan officials regarding the impending terrorist attacks on four different occasions. The last tip-off was provided just two hours before the April 21 attacks, he told the Commission.

Giving evidence on the second consecutive day before the PCoI the Archbishop said he was not informed regarding same by the IHC prior to the attacks.

The suicide attacks led by Zahran killed 259 people and left nearly 500 wounded on April 21 this year.

Spokesman for the Catholic Church Rev. Fr. Jude Krishantha told the Sunday Observer that the IHC has told the Archbishop that relating intelligence information to him was not in its protocol.

Fr. Krishantha added that the Archbishop told the Commission he admired the diversity of religions in the country and it is crucial for the people to respect each others’ religions, and called on all politicians to unite to strengthen national security.

“He said his intention was not to seek revenge but to take measures to prevent such events from taking place in the future,” Fr. Krishantha added.

After recording his statement on Friday (6) the Archbishop told the media that they informed the Commission of everything they knew, adding that the Commission is due to prepare a report on the evidence being gathered.

When questioned about his former view that he was not satisfied with the development regarding the investigations into the deadly attacks he said, they would have to move forward with ‘what we have’.

The final report compiled by the Select Committee of Parliament to look into and report to Parliament on the terrorist attacks that took place in different places in Sri Lanka on April 21 2019 was presented to Parliament, and later made public, by the Chair of the Committee J.M. Ananda Kumarasiri on October 23, 2019. The report concluded that Chief of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) Nilantha Jayawardena had prior information about the attacks.

On Monday (2) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa met with the members of the PCoI to make inquires about the developments of the investigations. During the meeting at the Presidential Secretariat the Chairman of the five-member Commission, Court of Appeal Judge Janaka de Silva informed the President that previous information regarding the attacks was treated lightly by responsible officials.

The President’s Media Division reported that Silva said ‘he had reasons to believe that certain officials have prepared forged documents in order to cover this aspect of the story’.

President Rajapaksa has stressed the importance of identifying the ‘roots and modalities’ of the Easter Sunday bombings, bring those ‘responsible before the law’ and expose all who were involved.