Newspapers and TV channels are full of news these days, since the barbaric terrorist attack that caused mayhem on ‘Black Easter Sunday,’ killing over 359 innocent people (including 34 foreigners, for the first time in Sri Lankan history), and injuring 500 victims by a series of well-timed terrorist suicide attacks on Churches in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa and five-star hotels in the high security zone at the heart of Colombo.
This was identified as a new wave of terrorism in Sri Lanka, after ten years of peace and quiet in the country, when the Security Forces managed to trounce the entire LTTE terrorist outfit, after a 30-year-old battle. The latest terrorist attack, which is alleged to have links with an International ruthless terrorist organisation, managed without any doubt, to create in the hearts and minds of the Sri Lankan people, once again, the fear of sudden terror attacks, suicide bombing and uncertainty to their lives.
‘Ceylon Today’in a front-page headline, prominently stressed how and why, ‘The Government cannot be pardoned for its lackadaisical approach.’ The entire blame is on the Government for completely and incompetently ignoring to take appropriate and timely action to prevent such a holocaust, especially after a letter dated 11 April 2019 dispatched a comprehensive communique, by a DIG of Colombo, to the relevant authorities and issuing a warning of an alleged impending mass scale terrorist attack masterminded by the leader of Thawheed Jamma’ath Mohamed Zahran.
The DIG , in his memorandum, has emphasised and urged the authorities to pay serious attention and to take appropriate action on the possible ‘hatched’ terror act, requesting to beef up security, covering all VIPs and places mentioned therein.
The DIG’s missive had mentioned specifically about Sri Lanka-based Zahran Hashmi of National Thawheed Jamm’ath was planning to carry out a series of suicide terror attacks in Sri Lanka on important targets such as churches, with his associates.
In such a backdrop, the UNF Government cannot get away or giving any lame excuses for not paying heed to such a vital intelligence report, as a result of which, thus committing a grave crime by not informing the Public, as well as the Cardinal of the Catholic Church, his Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, about what was intimated in the ‘high-priority intelligence report’that exposed a possible danger ahead.
Had his eminence been informed, Cardinal Ranjith would certainly have taken necessary steps to inform the Roman Catholic churches to halt the Easter mass to evade the impending tragedy. In some quarters of society, the failure on the part of the Government is seen as the most repulsive endeavour to secure Muslim votes at future elections by way of ‘taking the lives of Christians’ and the ordinary people’.
However, the Muslim community cannot expect any justice out of such endeavours, as they themselves are in peril. With such a nauseating action adopted by the Sri Lanka Government, it could easily become the first of its kind to create a world record for allowing purportedly to execute a manslaughter programme with their irresponsible actions.
It is the general view that once the pieces of the jigsaw, surrounding the carnage, has been picked up and become public knowledge as to what has taken place, the UNF Government qualifies to be the self-appointed guilty party, who should bravely accept the full responsibility for the loss of lives on the ‘Black Easter Sunday’; in that context, a public apology particularly to surviving Christian devotees for the sake of those who perished is necessary,while they were at prayers to pay homage to their Saviour, on the day of his resurrection from death.
Vexed Cardinal of the Catholic Church
The Cardinal of the Catholic Church directed an accusing finger at the Sri Lankan Government openly (on a telecast) placing the entire blame for the holocaust, for not taking necessary action on such a vital security alert. Apparently even Opposition Leader, Mahinda Rajapaksa, was heard on TV during a parliamentary session on 24 April that he too was not informed of any such threat. Mahinda Rajapaksa did not mince any words by criticising the Government for launching a witch-hunt on military and the State intelligence sleuths on the pretext of their involvement in extra judicial killings and many such brave soldiers were brought before the enquiry boards and some were jailed, which has discouraged intelligence sleuths in the long run.
In the past too, the UNF Government took a lackadaisical approach in taking a soft stand on attackers of Buddhist statues in the Mawanella area. When a group of Muslim terrorists (now confirmed as part of the above-mentioned terrorist gang), who damaged several Buddha statues in the area were arrested and some were later released allegedly with orders from the top! However, one of the suicide bombers, who blew himself up during the Easter Sunday holocaust, has now been identified as one of the team members who was responsible for defacing and damaging Buddha statues.
The international norm is to resign from one’s responsibilities, be it a government, politician, Prime Minister or even President of any democracy, when their failures and flops are exposed, but what has taken place in Sri Lanka, after such a tragic incident, was some of the Cabinet Ministers and officials responsible were trying to suppress the bulk of the holocaust by issuing incongruous statements and passing the buck.
This becomes crystal clear when the Prime Minister stated, after the carnage, in Parliament too that ‘he had never seen such a document; also, he was never consulted by the Security Council, since October last year”! In that sense, the public who appointed him as a Member of Parliament, in the first place, and later rose to the status of Prime Minister, have the supreme right to question him about the powers vested in him as the Prime Minister of this country, when most of the other Cabinet Ministers were admittedly aware of it. So, was he twiddling his thumbs until disaster befell on the entire nation? Brutality of this magnitude and coordination of bomb attacks has never occurred on a single day, even during the 30-year-old LTTE terrorist war! It is rather amusing to have heard from another prominent Minister on TV; who repeated the same thing on BBC, in parrot form, how he was saved by a whisker because of his father’s advice by ‘not attending the ‘Easter Mass’ on that ominous Sunday.
There are moves afoot, after the incident to remove the IGP and the Secretary of Defence who became another joker in answering questions raised by a foreign journalist by giving a flippant reply by stating, “Sri Lanka was considered a peaceful country in the recent past, as such there was no need to be on alert; also, that hotels should have their own security measures as they are earning good money out of tourists”, has resigned under pressure to do so. Can Sri Lanka expect any foreign visitor to come again after such haughty statements?
Contrary to the above Minister’s statement to the foreign journalist, the Minister of Tourism was heard at a news briefing that had he known about the DIG’s letter of warning, he could have advised those responsible in the hotel industry to be aware and beef up their own security as well. In certain quarters of the UNF Government itself, voices have begun to reverberate about the possible removal of the IGP and the Secretary of Defence, which the latter, of course stands to reason for his haughty and flippant statements, particularly to a foreign journalist, rather than expressing his sorrow and regret on the dead and the wounded. Still there are arguments among the public whether the Government is going to make the IGP a scapegoat and thereby attempting shrewdly to cover up their sins, and to wash their blood-stained hands!
If the Prime Minister denies not having received any information from the DIG Intelligence Service, and some of the Ministers and MPs were aware of it, the general consensus of the public is going to be that Wickremesinghe is not fit to hold the coveted position as Prime Minister of this country!
Finally, the damage has been done, lots of lives including some foreigners, were lost but there is no one to accept the blame, except blaming each other! Can a loss of life be equated in monitory terms or by taking care of the dead and promising millions to the survivors as compensation as certainly no one can bring back the dead. How is the government going to pay compensation in the millions, as promised, as if the money comes from their personal funds, but only way is to squeeze the living tax payer more but never missing out any of their allowances?
In such circumstances it boils down to the fact that the whole Government should share the full responsibility for every death, and resign from their elevated positions as decent human beings.
pic Credit: Ceylon Today and Google pics