Police tops failed to prevent Easter tragedy


The news reports on the most tragic incident that happened on Easter Sunday indicate that by 11 April, 2019, through intelligence information, the Police Chief was made aware of possible attacks on churches in Sri Lanka, and that in turn he passed the same to his Deputies.

It is now very clear that the Police Chief and his Deputies took no action at all on this warning, as no national alert was announced, and in fact they virtually ignored this threat and kept it to themselves. There was a time gap of almost 10 days till Easter Sunday, the D-day in this instance, and there was no follow-up action, which should logically have been to first make the Church authorities aware and then arrange for strong security around churches in consultation with the Church authorities, during the Good Friday-Easter Sunday period, when devotees throng these places for worship.

Nothing of the sort happened and the bombers had a field day and easy access to their targets, sans any security checks as is usual in Churches, to which there is free access to anyone. A CCTV recording at the St. Sebastian’s Church, Katuwapitiya, which was publicized, clearly showed the suspected bomber walking into the church through a side door with a heavy backpack, which probably had the lethal bomb for detonation, and the onlookers said that just after the entry of this man, the dreaded explosion occurred. Had there been strong security, this man could not have gained access to the church that easily. In fact, genuine worshippers who come to churches never walk in like that with heavy backpacks; and even the people in and around the church at that time would definitely have prevented him from walking in, had there been a national alert published well in advance.

It is apparent to any one with sense there has been a major lapse on the part of the Police Chief and his Deputies, as they have miserably failed to perform their relevant duties, either purposely or through negligence. Had they quickly acted on the advance information they had, the tragedy in the churches could have been avoided or minimized.

In the aftermath of this tragedy, when Sri Lanka is once again on the spotlight worldwide, for bombings targeting innocent civilians after a lapse of almost 10 years of calm and peace, it will be interesting to find out whether the Police Chief and his Deputies will not be held accountable, and will be allowed to go scot-free with regard to this issue. Given the fact that in this country, where people in authority are proud and boast of the responsibilities they hold, and accountability for lapses are mostly unheard of, and passing the buck is mostly the order of the day, it is probable that the same situation will prevail with no change, unless there is a drastic change in the approach to administration, at least now. We have to only wait and see.


Moragolla, Imbulgasdeniya

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