A plea for justice | Daily News

A plea for justice

There will be many among us, especially those politically unaffected, who would endorse His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith’s decree to all candidates in the upcoming Presidential Election to stay away from him until a proper investigation is carried out on the Easter Sunday carnage. Hosting a media briefing at the Archbishop’s House in Colombo, His Eminence has expressed utmost dissatisfaction on the ongoing Commissions of Inquiry probing the attacks on two Catholic churches, a Christian denominational Church, three Five Star Hotels and a Guest House, where over 250 innocents died and over 500 suffered injuries.

The Cardinal indicated that the current investigations were clearly an attempt at preventing the true culprits behind the massacre being revealed. He said the survivors of the bombings of the churches were not interested in compensation but only wanted justice to be served, by bringing to book those responsible.

His Eminence’s frustration in this regard is understandable. It is through his efforts that reprisals by Catholics against the Muslim community were averted. Had it not been for him there certainly would have been a bloodbath of immense proportions in the Catholic dominated areas on the coast. It is through the Christian dogma that preaches against revenge, citing the Christ’s own act of forgiving his killers, that the Cardinal held back his flock from creating another carnage.

No doubt, the assurance given by His Eminence to those bent on avenging the killings that he would do everything in his power to see that justice is done, too, would have gone a long way in preventing a backlash. Therefore, now questions are bound to be asked by those who were restrained by the Cardinal’s assurance, when, according to His Eminence, investigations were taking a lukewarm turn. Hence, his concern and anxiety.

The Government therefore should pay heed to his call for a fresh probe by an independent panel, appointed under the aegis of the President, Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader (His Eminence stressed that he had no faith in the Parliamentary Select Committee which comprises members of various political parties). The involvement of the Opposition in such a process should satisfy the requirement of impartiality and transparency which the Cardinal has been canvassing for.

Interestingly, His Eminence has held the Opposition, too, responsible and rightly so, since intelligence reports on the impending attacks were in the domain of Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa as well, conveyed by the Head of his MSD security detail. Therefore, the accusation levelled at Government leaders that they failed to act on the intelligence reports should also include Rajapaksa. The Cardinal also made the point that the Opposition was using the Easter Sunday attacks for political gain. This could be a reason for his demand for an independent commission of the inquiry sans political actors.

His open plea not to tar him with the political brush too should have put many minds at rest. This, no doubt, stemmed from the statements made top politicians after the Cardinal’s reference to the country’s leaders in not very complimentary terms at the re-consecration service at the bombed St.Sebastian’s Church at Katuwapitiya, to mark the third month of the tragedy.

There were those who were critical of the Cardinal’s comments during the delivery of a homily from the pulpit. However this too should be viewed in context, for reasons already explained. In any event, His Eminence set the record straight at Wednesday’s media briefing that his remarks did not target either the President or the Prime Minister. Here too, the Cardinal ought to be given the benefit of the doubt and the matter put to rest there.

Be that as it may, His Eminence’s decision to give politicians a wide berth, albeit due to perceived shortcomings in the Easter Sunday bombing investigations, ought to be a permanent ground rule with all other religious leaders in this country. In no other country in the world do we see politicians paying pooja to religious leaders and places of worship in such profusion as in this country.

A new minister cannot take office without it being accompanied by visits to countless places of worship to seek the blessings of the Maha Sangha and other religious dignitaries. No doubt in the minds of most, these visitors could only lead to the desecration of the holy abodes of these religious leaders, given that many politicos are known for murder, rape, corruption, drug running, and, if a recent accusation of a member of its own club is to go by, cocaine addiction.

No doubt, with the Presidential Election around the corner and the General Election to follow, there is going to be a stampede at the Sri Dalada Maligawa and other sacred places of worship. Not just politicians, even sports persons and public figures, Trade Union Leaders and others with questionable credentials too have joined the bandwagon, devaluing the sanctity of these sacred abodes.

Hopefully, the start given by His Eminence in this regard would be taken to its desired conclusion and sacred religious precincts being made thoroughfares for politicians and other undesirables brought to an end.


 

Add new comment