Apr 21, 2020

One year since the deadly Easter bombings

Today (21) marks a year since the devastating Easter Sunday bombings of 2019.

On April 21, 2019, a series of suicide bomb attacks was launched starting around 8.45 am.

The bombings were carried out by the terrorist organization National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) run by Islam extremists and targeted the Shangri-La Hotel, the Kingsbury Hotel, the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, the Kochchikade St Anthony Church, Katana Sebastian Church and Batticaloa Zion Church, from 8.45 am to 9.05 am.

Another suicide bomb attack was set for the Colombo Taj Samudra Hotel, however, the bomber, upon failure to achieve the target, blasted himself in a small hotel in Dehiwala area at about 2.10 pm on the same day.

Another bomb took place in a residence supposedly belonging to another bomber in Dematagoda area upon a search patrol at about 2.40 pm.
Around 253 persons lost their lives and several hundred were injured in the incident.

Probe expedited ; a second wave
The present government has pledged to accelerate investigations. According to police spokesman - SP Jaliya Senaratne, 197 suspects have been arrested in connection with the Easter Sunday bomb attacks.

At a media briefing recently, SP Senaratne revealed that Zaharan Hashim and his group of extremists had planned a second wave of attacks as well which was thwarted due to the intervention of the CID.

Light a candleYesterday (20), Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith called on Sri Lanka to observe a two-minute silence and appealed for all places of worship to ring bells to commemorate bombing victims.

The Cardinal called for bells to be rung at all religious places of worship nationwide at 8.40 a.m. today and requested the victims be remembered.

“Keep a two-minute silence at 8.45 am and light a lamp or a candle at your home at 8.47 am and observe religious rites to commemorate the victims,” said Cardinal Ranjith.

All public activities that were scheduled to mark the first-year commemoration of the Easter attack were cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak. However, a religious service held on this regard was telecast live by the state owned SLRC.