Sri Lanka is marking one of its darkest days in history today (April 21), with the second commemoration of the deadly Easter Sunday terror attacks which claimed the lives of more than 250 and injured at least 500 others.
The country was left devastated on the 21st of April 2019 after a group of suicide attackers of the now-outlawed local Islamic extremist organization National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) carried out a series of blasts at St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade, St. Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya, Zion Church in Batticaloa, Cinnamon Grand, Kingsbury and Shangri-La hotels in Colombo and a guest house in Dehiwala.
Sri Lanka declared a state of emergency immediately after the bombings and the probes launched into the incident led to the arrest of many who have had links to the suicide bombers.
Archbishop of Colombo, His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has appealed to all Sri Lankans to observe a two-minute silence at 8.45 am in remembrance of the victims of the massacre.
Catholic churches in the island have been asked to ring bells at 8:45 a.m. and observe two minutes of silence before once again ringing the bells. Afterwards, candles or oil lamps will be lit, followed by various religious observances.
Two main memorial services will take place at the St Anthony’s Church in Colombo and the St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo. The Archbishop will be presiding the memorial service at the St Anthony’s Church where the first bomb was detonated at 8.45 a.m. on April 21, 2019.
Meanwhile, Police Spokesperson DIG Ajith Rohana said special measures are in place to beef up security at all churches in the country.
The Police Headquarters has issued a special message to the officers-in-charge (OICs) of police stations and senior officers of territorial divisions including Senior DIGs, DIGs, SSPs and SPs to monitor the situation.