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Rathupaswela killings: A truly painful experience Statement by Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith

2013 Aug 12

"We are deeply distressed and shocked about the unfortunate situation that happened in the Weliveriya area with regard to the drinking water problem at Rathupaswela recently. Already three innocent lives have been lost due to this incident. A few others have been warded in the hospital with serious injuries. On this occasion we wish to express, our deepest condolences to the parents who lost their children and we wish to pray that the Lord may grant them His consolation and strength. We also pray that those who are injured may recover soon.

"We wish to reiterate at this point that we do not accept attempts to resolve questions by either taking the law into one’s own hands and engaging in causing disruption to peoples normal way of life or by using one’s power in a repressive manner to suppress protests, even if they get out of control. For every question the best way out is the way of peaceful discussion and dialogue. We cannot accept and approve under any circumstances attacking unarmed civilians during a demonstration. We wish to condemn such behaviour unreservedly.

"Those who lost lives and those who have been made to suffer as a result were not those who engaged in the protest in a provocative manner or those who suppressed such protest abusing one’s power, but innocent civilians who had no connection whatsoever with this event or their parents or relatives. This is truly a painful experience.

"We wish to condemn unhesitatingly the attack carried out by some elements of the forces on people who had sought refuge at St. Anthony’s Church, Weliveriya. It is a sacrilege for any one to enter such sacred precincts with arms in their hands and to behave in a violent manner there. Such actions cannot be accepted by anyone.

"It is always necessary that we preserve the sanctity of sacred premises of any religion and respect the people who enter such premises seeking protection. Hence, we firmly request from the Government and the authorities responsible to conduct an impartial and just inquiry into the incident where innocent people were killed and actions contrary to the sacredness of, a Church were carried out and we request that those found guilty be punished without consideration of rank or status.

"We also wish to invite all those who are affected and the people in the area to be calm and patient, as the noble teachings of our religious beliefs call us to do."

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