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Sri Lanka Easter Sunday Massacre of April 21, 2019 - Selected Statements / Meetings by Citizens Groups

23 April

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[Posted below are some statements by citizens groups in response to the massive bombing attacks killing over 320 people on the 2019 Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka. On April 21, 2019, a series of coordinated bomb explosions killed hundreds in Sri Lanka as they congregated for Easter Sunday mass. St. Anthony’s Church, Kochchikade was the first to be hit by an explosion, followed by St Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya, Negombo and the Zion Church in Batticaloa. There were also explosions at the Kingsbury, the Shangri-La hotel and the Cinnamon Grand. An explosion in Dehiwala killed two – the Government has not confirmed whether this attack is related. At 3:30 pm, there was an 8th explosion in Dematagoda. STF officers entered the house wearing protective masks. Three police officers died, while 2 suspects were detained.]

[1] SAAPE condemns the Heinous Acts of Extremist in Sri Lanka

April 22, 2019

The South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE), a regional civil society network encompassing all eight countries of South Asia, condemns the act of serial blasts in Sri Lankan cities targeted to the general people attending Church Pray and staying in hotels by extremists on 21 April 2019. As reported by the news media, the acts of serial blasts have claimed lives of 290 innocent people and has wounded more than 500. We share our heartfelt condolences, prayers and strength to the families, friends and people who are grappling with this uncalled-for tragedy.

The fear and threat of terrorism backed up by fundamentalist ideas and groups spoil the democratic order, violates peoples’ right to peace and security and only lead to further hate and aggression. Such an act never serves the true spirit of any religion and are always an attempt to divide an integrated and multi-cultural nation and society. Such an act leads to the risk of increased militarisation and curtailing of democratic space. SAAPE collectively stands against such insanity and rejects such violent acts and invasion.

In this context of serial blast incidence in cities of Sri Lanka, SAAPE members and activists support people of Sri Lanka to stand together, remained united and collectively reject any extremism and fundamentalism. We urge the government of Sri Lanka to take necessary measures for protecting the lives of people, to counter fear among people, have an independent higher-level investigation of this crime and strengthen the co-existence of the multicultural populated society of Sri Lanka along with ensuring justice for victims, their family and community.

SAAPE believes that such fundamentalism and extremism can be countered effectively with empowered civil societies and peoples’ active engagement to promote peace and harmony. We believe the solidarity among the peoples’ movement across the border at the regional and international level can challenge and downsize the influence of extremists and all kinds of fundamentalist.

The unified actions of government to counter extremism and fundamentalism is extremely important. We further demand South Asian governments to take immediate joint actions to address the growing rise of religious fundamentalism in the region.

SAAPE Secretariat, Kathmandu, Nepal

[2] CPA strongly condemns the violence in churches and hotels across Sri Lanka

21^st April 2019, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) vehemently condemns today’s attacks on three churches, three hotels and other locations across Sri Lanka that resulted in over 200 deaths and left over 450 injured. This shocking and senseless attack is the largest witnessed in post-war Sri Lanka. CPA extends its deep condolences to the families and loved ones of all victims of these attacks and urges the authorities to take immediate action to prevent such violence from spreading. Furthermore, we call upon those in authority to take speedy and decisive steps to hold all perpetrators to account without fear or favour.

CPA has continuously condemned the impunity that has prevailed following attacks on places of religious worship and affronts to the freedom of religion, which have been increasing in number in recent years. The most recent of these was a mere week ago, with the attack on the Methodist Prayer Centre in ​​Kundichchaankulama, Anuradhapura, on the 14^th of April 2019. CPA calls on the government to ensure that this impunity does not continue following today’s attacks, and emphasises the need to protect the rights and safety of all religious minorities in the island.

The attack on hotels is clearly a horrific and premeditated attack on tourism in particular and the economy in general. Moreover it goes to the heart of the ability of the government to provide security to the people. We call upon the government to demonstrate its ability to do so and upon our fellow citizens to assist the government in this.

Today’s incidents demonstrate the urgent need to move from the rhetoric of reforms and reconciliation to real action. We must desist from actions that lead to communal divisions, fear and hate. And we must ask for nothing less from our political and religious leaders, especially in this election year.

Our contact details are:
Centre for Policy Alternatives (Guarantee) Ltd. (CPA)
6/5, Layards Road, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka

[3]

Sri Lanka: Statement from the Women’s Action Network | April 2019

[4]

statement from Women’s Coalition for Disaster Management, Batticaloa

[5] Condolence meeting in Bombay

A gathering will be held to offer our heartfelt Condolences and Prayers to
the Victims of the horrifying Sri Lanka Easter Day Church Terror Attacks.

4.00pm, on Wednesday the 24th of April, CSMT, outside Subway No. 1, Opp.
Cannon Pavbhaji Stall, Mumbai.

Organising Committee

Feroze Mithiborwala (Bharat Bachao Andolan), Salim Alware (Mahatma Gandhi Vichar Manch), Irfan Engineer (All India Secular Forum), Javed Anand (Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy), Jatin Desai (PIPFPD), Ravi Bhilane (Lokanche Dost), Varsha Vidya Vilas (Sadbhavna Sangh), M A Khalid (Milli Council), Jyoti Badekar (Vidyarthi Bharti), Prof. Pramila Kunda (Satyashodhak Research Centre), Santosh Gawli (Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch), Amol Madame (Prajasattak Bharat), Dhananjay Shinde, Nuruddin Naik, Guddi (Yusuf Meherally Centre), Afroz Malik (Jai Ho Foundation), Shadab Siddiqui (Being Woman), Smita Salunke (Vaghini), Tahera Syed (Mamta Foundation), Hamida Latif, Yashodhan Paranjpe, Abdul Qadir, Aniket Navalkar, Afaque Azad.

Contact: 9029277751/0773870613/09869462833

Irfan Engineer, Director, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism Call: +91-22-26149668 | Fax: +91-22-6100712 e-mail: forirf at gmail.com; irfanengi[at]gmail.com ; csss.mumbai[at]gmail.com