Kithsiri De Silva, the head chef at Sri Lanka’s venerable Kingsbury Hotel, walked through the main restaurant during breakfast Sunday, greeting diners and surveying the extravagant buffet. He would have seen, he thinks now with dread, the guest who moments later detonated a suicide bomb in the middle of the dining room, one of a coordinated sequence of blasts against hotels and churches.
I have been travelling to Sri Lanka since 2006. The first time I visited, the Tamil Tigers carried out a suicide attack just a couple of blocks from where I was staying. It seemed that the war between the Tamil militants and the Sri Lankan government would never end. But it did: in 2009 the government launched a brutal attack that ended the war.
The deadly blasts in churches in Sri Lanka that killed and wounded hundreds on Easter Sunday is a grim reminder that evil minded people are hell bent in instilling fear in the minds of the faithfuls.
One week after the Easter Sunday attacks, Sri Lanka is still in turmoil. As law enforcement and security forces proceed with investigations, and searches throughout the island have uncovered more weapons, fear, confusion and misinformation are rife.
The family was stunned, grieving — and angry. They had just buried three of their own, an elderly couple and their 11-year-old grandson who were killed in their church pews Easter morning, and they lashed out at the government.
Sadly, suicide bombings have long been part of the history and culture of life – that is, terrorisms’ horrific ending of life – in the small island nation of Sri Lanka, just off the eastern coast of India.
The Sri Lankan and Cypriot authorities have been condemned by their own citizens for failing to deal with mass murderers in their midst. Timely action by Colombo could have saved the lives of 253 people, massacred on the Western Easter Sunday at churches and hotels around the country. The deaths were the highest since Sri Lanka’s civil war ended a decade ago.
Terrorism is a language of the cowards and those with evil mindsets. Terrorists engage in indiscriminate violence and destruction with the wrong notion that they can strangle social harmony and break the unity of peace-loving people around the world.
Growing incidents of religious-based violence in the North Western Province of Sri Lanka are a matter of serious concern and the authorities should see to it that hate attacks directed towards the country’s Muslim minority never happen again. It is true that Sri Lanka’s police have arrested several suspects
It will be the second weekend that Catholics in Sri Lanka will go without Sunday services. But while the government continues to investigate the Easter serial bombings, vigilance also needs to be spruced up across the region (“Mass cancelled over ‘fresh attack fears” May 3, Gulf Today).