The leader of Sri Lanka’s Catholics has demanded the government find the perpetrators of the deadly 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, as worshippers held silent protests outside the capital’s churches on Sunday.
No one has been prosecuted over the bombings at three hotels and three churches in Colombo that killed 279 people on April 21, 2019, although a local investigation found that followers of an armed group were behind them.
In a report published last month, the inquiry set up by former President Maithripala Sirisena said he and his intelligence chiefs should be charged for failing to prevent the attacks.
“Our effort is to establish who was actually behind the attacks,” Catholic leader Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said in a statement on Sunday. “This is not an issue only for Catholics. All Sri Lankans suffered after this attack.”
Last week, Ranjith told a press conference he was unhappy with the lack of progress in the inquiry, and laid out an ultimatum.
“If the authorities fail to come up with answers as to who was behind the attacks by the second anniversary of the bombings, we will call for a nationwide black-flag campaign,” he said.
The campaign would involve Sri Lankans flying a black flag above their homes as a sign of protest, the cardinal added.
Several Buddhist monks joined Ranjith and other protesters outside St Anthony’s church, one of the sites attacked, carrying banners calling for justice.
“Who ran the operation behind the curtain” and “Will the law be enforced against those who were found to be negligent” were some of the banners present at the protest, media reported.