Cardinal calls for closure of all liquor shops in Negombo area until normalcy is restored | Daily News

Cardinal calls for closure of all liquor shops in Negombo area until normalcy is restored

Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith requested the Government to close all liquor shops in the Negombo area until the situation which arose on Sunday subsides.

He said the main reason for such a situation was that those involved were under the influence of alcohol.

Hence, he said it is advisable to close all liquor stores in the area so that people would not have access to liquor during this tense period. “When people are under the influence of alcohol, people sometimes behave worse that animals,” he said.

While thanking the public for keeping calm in the face of adversity and rendering assistance to the Security Forces to carry out their tasks, the Cardinal urged all those in possession of any form of weapons to hand them over to the authorities.

“Despite the number of deaths, I commend the people for remaining calm and acting with restraint.

I take this opportunity to thank the Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim religious leaders. Some parties are trying to instigate communal hatred to create religious clashes,” he said urging the public not to be misled by such elements and to continue to maintain peace. He warned the public that some sinister forces may try to instigate racial disharmony and push the country into a state of bloodshed and mayhem for their own political benefit. “I urge the Catholics to keep their faith in God and carry out their religious observances at their own homes. I especially request that the Holy Rosary be recited seeking the blessings of Holy Mother Mary.”

Sometimes we see that certain groups are rousing other groups and getting them onto the streets. A good example was the incident which occurred in Negombo. These groups had been brought from outside the area and given liquor and instigated to create the clash with the intention of igniting racial clashes between the Catholics and Muslims. Therefore, we should not allow such elements to have their way and act intelligently. I earnestly request the Catholics not to raise a hand against the Muslims. The Muslims are not behind this incident. Those behind this attack are misguided persons who are being manipulated by international forces to realise their political aims. According to the teachings of our religion, we should not harm anyone.” He also urged the people to be responsible when using social media and not to spread their own opinions which have no credibility. Responding to allegations that the Cardinal is trying to gain fame through this incident he said, “Such people and media should refrain from making such foolish claims. I don’t need to gain popularity and I am not affiliated to any political party or individual. My only leader is the Lord and I only serve him.”

The Bishop had visited the Negombo area together with the President of the All Ceylon Jammiyathula Ulama Mufthi MIM Rizwie and during his tour he had spoken to many Muslim residents in the area. “These people are afraid. I stretched my hand to them to reassure them that there is no religious clashes between us. We want to live in peace. Hence I call upon the Catholics to protect the Muslims. We have information to prove that they are not involved in this incident.

As long as I am in this position, I will guarantee the safety of these Muslim brothers and sisters.

They are welcome to my home at any time and I am willing to safeguard them,” the Cardinal assures. Commenting on the reopening of Catholic schools he said last week as they had received information that a group was planning to attack schools, they had decided to delay the opening of these schools and opening the churches for Holy Mass. “The safety of the children and people attending church is the primary concern.

Therefore, it is my duty to protect them and hence, the decision was taken,” he said. The Cardinal called on all communities to extend their hands in faith and draw from their religions to create unity among all communities.


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