Horror returns to Lanka
The tranquility of Sri Lanka, often called the teardrop in the Indian Ocean, may have been shattered decades ago due to its civil war. A tenuous peace reached a decade ago was shattered on Easter Sunday as horrific serial blasts left an unimaginable trail of destruction of human lives. The coordinated attack with suicide bombers was South Asia’s worst since Mumbai’s 26/11 and aimed to stab at Sri Lanka’s very heart. Such a dastardly deed could have been hatched only through a deep-rooted conspiracy. The attack on the minority at major churches and several luxury hotels in and around Colombo and in Batticaloa on the east coast can only be attributed to terror by religious zealots — Islamists or Sinhalese hardliners, both of whom have the capacity to make bombs, besides the remnants of the decimated Tamil Tiger movement.
The nature of Sri Lanka’s open society and the strength of its military and police forces is such it has been inured to endure such attacks on civil society. There was a dire warning from the police chief about the possible evil designs of an organisation called the National Thowheeth Jamaát, an Islamist radical group that was exposed by an international intelligence agency. There is, however, no evidence yet to pin this on any religious group, nor has anyone claimed responsibility. Sri Lanka’s tense communal ties with a strident Sinhala Buddhist clergy whipping up passions against Muslims and Christians, who could be Sinhalese or Tamil, led to a powder keg scenario, though incidents had been very minor till now. It’s a pity that so many, including tourists, should be slain in Sri Lanka’s bloodiest day in a decade since the civil war ended on May 19, 2009.