Grenade found in Sri Lankan church: Cardinal skeptical of police investigation

ECONOMYNEXT – The head of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, has expressed doubts about the integrity of a police investigation into a hand grenade found in a church in Colombo.

The grenade was discovered at All Saints Church in Borella on Tuesday (11), three days before Catholics in Sri Lanka marked 1,000th Day since the Easter 2019 bombings.

The caretaker of All Saints’ Church was arrested in connection with the incident.

Speaking to reporters Thursday (13th), Cardinal Ranjith claimed that police had been reluctant to review Tuesday’s CCTV footage of church grounds in its entirety.

The Archbishop of Colombo, quoting the vicar, said the police did not request footage until after 3pm that day.

“I asked the parish priest to review the footage from the morning. A new piece of evidence came to light. On the same day at 9.52 a person can be seen entering the church with a plastic bag. We could tell from the way he made the sign of the cross that he was not a Catholic.

“He doesn’t stop to pray but walks to the end of the pews where he does something and leans over a statue in the corner. Then he takes something out of his pants or his pocket. The police did not view this footage. Why did you wait until 3 p.m.?” said the cardinal.

Further describing the CCTV footage, the archbishop said the church’s caretaker, who was on cleaning duty, could be seen handling whatever was there near the statue in the corner

“He bends down and picks something up and puts it on top. We can assume that’s what the other person left on the floor.”

“Certain aspects here indicate to us that the police investigation is without truth. We have reason to believe the bomb was planted there in the morning. Who brought it here? Without investigating, the police arrested the cleaner, who is easily frightened,” the cardinal said.

Cardinal Ranjith increasingly and harshly criticized the government for its alleged lethargy in investigating the Easter bombings, even going so far as to suggest a conspiracy.

The hand grenade incident came days after he again raised the possibility of a politically motivated attack.

He claimed police made no attempt to uncover the truth behind what happened on Tuesday.

“If so, they would have looked at the footage from the morning. We completely reject this police action and demand a proper investigation,” he said.

“I see it as a conspiracy,” he added. (Colombo/January 14, 2022)

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