When millions of Christians around the world were celebrating Easter, the festival that symbolises hope, renewal, forgiveness and manifestation of God’s ultimate love for humankind, on Sunday, a series of devastating blasts tore through several sites, including three churches and three luxury hotels in Sri Lanka, killing more than 300 people and injuring hundreds of others. The auspicious and joyous occasion turned into a blood day filled with mourning. This barbaric act, which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for without providing any evidence to back the claim, has not only left the people of Sri Lanka but also the whole world in shock and anger. The intent of the coordinated carnage has not being ascertained yet but it is clear that those behind the attacks were willing to take the lives of innocent people- children and adults, citizens of the country and foreigners alike. It was a challenge to all peace-loving nations, an attack on humanity. Several world leaders, including US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have condemned the bombings. The shared goal for peace by world leaders gives hope for a better future but that is not enough with terror activities continuing to proliferate. The rise of attacks on places of worship in the last few months, like the shootings at Pittsburgh synagogue in the United States and Christchurch mosque in New Zealand has also indicated that religious radicalism could be growing. This calls for an urgent need to find possible ways to stop further loss of precious lives to terrorism.
In the case of the attacks in Sri Lanka, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne had told media persons a day after the horrific blasts that international intelligence agencies (said to be from India) had warned the government of the island nation in early April on possible serial attacks. It is disturbing that the security agencies didn’t take the alert seriously. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s claim that he and his ministers were not aware of the warning is a matter of concern. While the administration has done a commendable job during aftermath of the incident by handling the situation calmly considering the pluralistic society, the possible lapse of communication among the country’s top brass should be investigated as a nation’s security can’t be compromised by political rivalry and individual discords. The attempt to end terrorism will be futile if leaders of a country don’t pay heed to valuable information shared by other nations. Terrorists’ evil designs can be thwarted only if all the countries around the world work together and share information on the plans of anti-social elements. Fanaticism of any kind should be checked and no country should be allowed to harbour enemies of humanity. And fight against this social menace requires collective responsibility. Amid the gloom, fear, pain and sense of insecurity that the Sri Lankan blasts created, there was glimpse of hope as the citizens of the country rushed to help the survivors of the incident. Easter’s HOPE lives.