Colombo, April 21: Sri Lanka's police chief Pujuth Jayasundara had warned 10 days before Sunday’s serial blasts in the country that suicide bombers were planning hit "prominent churches", reported AFP. Jayasundara sent the warning to top officials on April 11. In the warning, the Sri Lanka Police chief mentioned that National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ) was planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian High Commission in Colombo. Two More Blasts In Sri Lanka, Explosions In Dehiwala And Dematagoda.
The NTJ is a radical Muslim group in Sri Lanka. It came to notice last year when Buddhist statues were vandalised. However, no one claimed responsibility for today’s blasts in which at least 185 people lost their lives and over 400 were injured. A total of eight blasts rocked Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo and Batticaloa. The first explosion was reported from St. Anthony's Church in Kochchikade at around 8.45 am on Sunday morning when people gathered in the church to offer mass on the occasion of Easter Sunday.
Suicide bombing in Sri Lanka:
Locations of the Eight explosions:
- St. Sebastian's Church, Katuwapitiya
- St. Anthony's Church, Kochchikade
- Church in Batticaloa
- Cinnamon Grand Hotel
- Shangri La hotel
- Kingsbury hotel
- Tropical Inn (near Dehiwala zoo)
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe held an emergency meeting with other ministers and military officials. Minister of Economic Reforms Harsha De Silva said that all measures have been taken to maintain peace. Meanwhile, schools will be closed on April 22 and 23. The Sri Lankan government has temporarily suspended access to all major social media and messaging services including WhatsApp, Facebook, Viber and YouTube.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condemned the serial blasts that left hundreds dead in Sri Lanka. PM Modi tweeted, “Strongly condemn the horrific blasts in Sri Lanka. There is no place for such barbarism in our region. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured.” The PM also had telephone conversations with the President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and conveyed "heartfelt condolences.