Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa blamed the rift between the President and Prime Minister to be a direct cause of negligence in national security. While the political blame game will continue, the incident is sure to affect the upcoming Presidential Election
The world woke up to the news of Sri Lanka being rocked by serial bomb blasts on Easter Sunday. Eight explosions that tore through churches and luxury hotels of Batticaloa, Negombo and Colombo, took over 350 lives. This included 39 foreign nationals out of which 11 were of Indian origin, and left over 500 injured.
Relatives weep near the coffin with the remains of 12-year Sneha Savindi, who was a victim of Easter Sunday bombing at St. Sebastian Church in Negombo
With the country remaining largely peaceful since the end of the civil war in 2009, the suicide bombings are being termed as one of the most serious attacks aimed at disturbing the social fabric of the country. The ethnic conflict, popularly known as the civil war, which began in 1983 and lasted for about 30 years, ended only on May 18, 2009.
For the last 10 years, the country has been living in relative peace with a promising economy. Tourism had been thriving and Sri Lanka was topping the charts as one of the most popular holiday destinations for South Asian tourists. The Easter attacks, however, have shaken the soul of that very industry. The economy is sure to take a toll with the country under a conditional state of Emergency since the midnight of April 22. Travel advisories have also been issued by countries warning their citizens against travelling to Sri Lanka till the prevailing situations last.
The need for the global community is to define terrorism and work on a comprehensive convention to fight the menace. This is also the time for global community to come together against the growing radicalizationWhat deserves our attention now and often gets discussed every time humanity is put to shame by such radicalised minds is the need for the global community to define terrorism and work on a comprehensive convention to fight the menace of terrorism. This is also the time for the global community to come together against the growing radicalisation that is penetrating through the juvenile minds of the world at large.
The Sri Lankan State Minister of Defence, in a statement, has informed reporters that the bombers came from the middle class and upper-class backgrounds with a few of them believed to be quite well educated. Such revelations have again raised a question on the modus operandi on the state’s preparedness to deal with radicalisation.
While the US has been claiming to have defeated the Islamic State after the US forces’ occupation of the last Syrian village of Barghouz, the attacks stand testimony to the fact that a landless Islamic State is still active. The Sri Lankan authorities are also believed to have detained over 50 citizens who had travelled abroad on the suspicion of their alleged involvement in the blasts. There is also information of the Indian intelligence agencies having warned the Sri Lankan authorities of the possibility of an attack on various occasions in the past month, however the same had seem to lose its way in the shackles of bureaucracy. While the Sri Lankan Prime Minister says the authorities are looking into the reason for the lapse of security and the reason for the information not passing down the line, the President has denied being privy to any such information.
Not just the high offices, but voices of disagreement have started coming out from across the political spectrum at large. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has blamed the rift between Sri Lankan President and Prime Minister to be a direct cause of the negligence in national security.
While the political blame game will continue, the incident is sure to have an effect on the upcoming Presidential election of 2019. The former regime has a victory in the civil war to their name resulting in the restoration of peace in the war-torn island. The opposition will now use this opportunity to question the current dispensation’s ability to protect the country from the perpetrators of terrorism and crime.
India, on the other hand, has stood by its South Eastern neighbour in their hour of grief and was amongst the first few nations to condemn the brutal attacks on the faith and democracy of the island nation. In its bid to oust the growing threat of radicalisation and ensuring a better future for the youth of the region, India reiterated its commitment to fight the global menace of terrorism with concerted efforts. The Indian Prime Minister too reached out to the President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka offering all possible help and assistance to the affected nation in restoring normalcy and calm.
The Sri Lankan government had declared April 23 (Tuesday) as the national day of mourning. Sri Lankan Prime Minister briefed the national and foreign media on the progress made in investigations, however, what remained in front of him then was the mass burial of over 300 innocent citizens of his country who lost their lives on the holy day of resurrection. “The difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter is a matter of perspective: it all depends on the observer and the verdict of history,” writes Pentti Linkola in his book ‘Can Life Prevail’ and rightly so. The global citizens too are now waiting to see if justice can prevail.
(The writer is Senior Research Fellow at India Foundation, New Delhi)