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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Sri Lankan religious leaders decry police statement on the Easter Sunday probe

Image: High ranking police officers want leading monks to interfere with National Police Commission on the pending disciplinary actions.

Interfaith leaders in Sri Lanka have condemned a statement by senior police officers named by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Easter Sunday attack that investigations and legal work connected to the probe had a racist and religious dimension.

“The statement appears to have a nefarious purpose of pushing the investigation and legal action of the Easter Sunday attack to a racist and religious level,” Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu and Catholic leaders said in a statement on Aug. 25.

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“We urge the authorities to remain steadfast in the face of such extremist statements and to conduct investigations and legal action regarding the Easter Sunday attack in a fair and transparent manner without political interference.”

Father Jude Chrysantha Fernando, Father Cyril Gamini Fernando, Ven. Parakaduwe Saranankara Thera, Ven. Beligala Amarasiri Thera, Shivashree R. Darshaka Sharma and several other religious leaders signed the statement.

The commission has recommended legal action against senior police officers.

The senior police officers, who met chief Buddhist monks recently, requested the monks intervene to rectify the unjust verdict given by the commission, which they said had caused serious prejudice to those who had served with their lives.

It is not at all acceptable for top police officers to visit Buddhist leaders and try to evade the allegations leveled against them

Senior deputy inspector general Nandana Munasinghe and Deshabandu Tennakoon claimed they had been unjustly victimized by the commission and questioned whether they had been charged because they were Sinhala Buddhists.

The officers said the commission has done an injustice to many police officers who made sacrifices to end Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war.

“Even the retirement of these people has become a problem. The officers on duty in the area are being harassed, which is detrimental to the morale of the entire police force,” said the two police officers.

Rights activist Nuwan Abayadeera said the Police Commission should conduct an investigation into senior police officers who left their areas of jurisdiction in uniform and met with top Buddhist monks and expressed their views in front of the media, committing a disciplinary and immoral act.

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