Si Lanka remembers victims of Easter Sunday terror bombings
Colombo, Apr 21 (EFE).- Sri Lanka Wednesday held teary-eyed memorial services for victims of terror on the second anniversary of the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks that killed more than 250 people.
Two years on, families of the victims are waiting for justice to punish those responsible for the worst terror carnage that mainly targeted the Christian minority on the island.
Local Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jamaat, linked to the Islamic State terror network, owned the responsibility for the attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels.
Over a thousand people, mostly relatives of the victims, gathered for the memorial service at the St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, one of the three churches devastated by the suicide attacks on Apr.21, 2019.
The service took place amid tight security to urging the Sri Lankan government justice for those who lost their loved ones.
At 8.45 am, the church bells tolled as the nation observed two-minute silence in memory of the victims.
Posters donned the church premises calling for justice.
“Hiding the truth about the Easter Sunday Massacre is a crime,” a poster read.
Last year, the event was limited to a few people as Covid-19 cases spiked in Sri Lanka.
On Wednesday, people wore masks but failed to maintain social distances as they flocked to the church in large numbers.
Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith alleged that the previous government of then-President Maithripala Sirisena had failed to protect people.
The incumbent government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, he said, failed to deliver justice and punish those responsible for the bombings.
He said the Catholic community was ready to forgive the perpetrators, but they wanted to know “what really happened.”
K. Vidushan, 26, wants those involved in the bombings to be named and punished.
Vidushan lost his school friend Kirubashini, father, and mother in the bombing. He has their names tattooed on his chest.
“As soon as the bomb went off, I called her (Kirubashini) but she never answered. We were planning to get married. I wanted to start a family with her,” he said.
The security forces have arrested more than 100 people for their alleged involvement in the attacks. However, they are awaiting conviction.
The Sri Lankan Muslim community, which faced hate violence and revenge attacks after the bombings, also held memorial services Wednesday.
Hilmy Ahamed, the vice president of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, said that the community suffered a hate campaign for the deadly mayhem “by a few who called themselves Muslims.”
“The trauma and fear that Muslims have suffered during these two years is indescribable,” he said. EFE