Easter attack update -US $ 5 million given to the former President has not reached the victims

Friday, 26 June 2020 - 21:47


The Presidential Commission to Investigate the Easter Attack was informed that the US $ 5 million donated by an International Muslim Organization has not reached the people by the attacks on Easter Sunday.

The funds have been given to the Former President Maithripala Sirisena at a function hosted at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre in Colombo.

It has also been revealed that Rs 5 million cheque has been given by the Archbishop to the priest in charge of the Zion church in Batticaloa.

It was also revealed at the Commission that the priest in charge of the Zion church had not yet arrived from Canada.

Rev. Lawrence Ramanayake, Director of Sethsarana Institute of Social Welfare, in the Arch Diocese of Colombo, testified yesterday at the Presidential Commission appointed to probe into the Easter attack.

Rev. Lawrence Ramanayake stated that 115 persons at the St. Sebastian Church in Katuwapitiya belonging to 78 families were killed including 32 children, following the Easter attack.

The priest also told the Commission that among the dead there was one Buddhist youth and a young girl who was a follower of Islam.

The priest further stated that 56 persons belonging to 42 families were killed in the explosion at St. Anthony's Church in Kochchikade. There were 13 Hindu families and five Buddhists mong the victims.

381 people were injured in the two blasts, and they were from Colombo, Nuwara Eliya, Maskeliya, Hatton and Jaffna.

The last patient who was treated at the hospital had left home last week, however, he told the Commission that the condition of 37 people being treated at home was very serious.

The Commission inquired whether the churches received the money that the government had promised. The Father replied that all the families including Catholics, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims have been given financial assistance on the advice of the Archbishop, without waiting for the Government assistance.

Accordingly, 114 families affected by the blast at the Kochchikade church were given Rs. 42.9 million. The government has provided Rs. 95.5 million to 281 families who were affected by the blast at the Katuwapitiya church.

Zion church in Batticaloa was provided Rs. 5 million in the first phase after identifying the victim families.

The priest also stated that the Archbishop had later handed over a cheque for Rs. 5 million to Rev Roshan who served as the Chief Priest.

However, Rev. Lawrence Ramanayake said that he had heard through the media that a number of priests had told the Commission that they had not received any money.

Rev Roshan had left for Canada after receiving a cheque and when he was contacted over the phone, he has informed that all accounts and documentation will be provided once he is in Sri Lanka.

The priest also stated that Rev Roshan of the Zion Church was invited to attend weekly discussions on the reconstruction of the destroyed churches, but he did not attend the meetings.

The Rev. Father testifying to the Commission stated that the DS officer had once told him that Rev Roshan had requested them to build a church in different land.

But since they refused to acquire the new land, the government has decided to hand over the renovation of the Zion Church to the military.

Meanwhile, Rev. Lawrence Ramanayake told the Commission that an International Muslim Organization had issued a cheque for US $ 5 million to former President Maithripala Sirisena at a ceremony held at the Nelum Pokuna in Colombo to provide relief to the people affected by the Easter Sunday attacks.

However, the Reverend revealed to the Commission that no one who had been affected by the bomb blast has received assistance and he is not aware of what happened to the money.

Meanwhile, the present Director of State Intelligence Brigadier Suresh Saleh also gave evidence before the Presidential Commission.

For more than nine hours, the Commission obtained evidence from the Director of Intelligence and it was not open to the media.