25 December, 2019
By SJA Jafri
COLOMBO/ MELBOURNE: Sri Lanka has marked Christmas on a sombre note, with tight security in places around churches after bombings at several hotels and places of worship on Easter Sunday killed 268 people.
Police officers, backed by armed forces, were positioned around all churches that held midnight and Wednesday morning services.
The head of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, conducted a Mass in one of the churches targeted in the April 21 bombing.
“We will not build hatred against those who committed this crime, but urge these extremist groups to stop such attacks,” Cardinal Ranjith said.
Earlier, Ranjith had called on Catholics to mark Christmas on a quiet note without firecrackers and celebrations.
Sri Lanka’s newly elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had earlier directed the security forces to step up security for Christmas services.
Two other churches and three luxury tourist hotels were targeted on Easter Sunday by the suicide bombers.