Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith yesterday expressed shock and distress over the Weliweriya incident and condemned the attack on people seeking sanctuary at St. Anthony’s parish in the town last Thursday.
“We wish to condemn unhesitatingly the attack that was carried out by some elements of the forces on people who had sought refuge at St. Anthony’s Church, Weliweriya,” the Archbishop said in a hard-hitting statement.
Cardinal Ranjith said that it was sacrilege for anyone 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 this sanctity of sacred premises of any religion and respect the people who enter such premises seeking protection,” his statement said.
The Archbishop “firmly” requested the Government to conduct an impartial inquiry into the incident in which innocent people had been killed. “We request that those found guilty be punished without consideration of rank or status,” the statement said.
He also urged all those affected in Weliweriya and people of the area to remain calm and patient.
“We wish to reiterate at this point that we do not accept attempts to resolve questions either, taking the law into one’s own hands,” the Cardinal said.
He said it was unacceptable, under any circumstances, the attacking of unarmed civilians during a demonstration. “We do not accept 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 dialogue and discussion,” the Archbishop said.