National Catholic Communication Commission Director and Sri Lanka Catholic Council Media Spokesman Rev. Fr. W.N. Lal Pushpadeva Fernando presents the first copy of the book to National Catholic Bishop’s Conference President and Bishop of Badulla Rt. Rev. Dr. Winston Fernando
After nearly three years following the Easter Sunday attacks, the National Catholic Social Communication Centre, with the full consent and support of the National Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Sri Lanka on Saturday launched a book titled ‘Thitha’ (Full Stop) at the Jasmine hall of BMICH.
Titled as ‘Thitha’, the book is meant to put an end to the recurrence of such social tragedies for negligence of such matters could end in another tragedy.
The event was inaugurated with the lighting of oil lamps before the monument erected in memory of the Easter Sunday Bomb attacks. These were lit by three representatives symbolising the victims of the Katuwapitiya, Batticaloa and Kotahena bombings. The event was graced by Chief Guest Rev. Dr. Winston Fernando, Bishop of Badulla and President of the National Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Sri Lanka along with other invitees and guests including many priests, nuns and laity.
Speaking at the event, the Director of the National Catholic Communication Centre and Chief Editor of the book Rev. Fr. W.N. Lal Pushpadeva Fernando OMI said that the ‘dot’ is the end of one thing as well as the beginning of another, which if had been placed at the right moment, could have prevented the disastrous incident that took place. He further stated that ‘Thitha’ opens the door to the “One Country, One Rule” ideology.
The book contains a summary of the lengthy facts outlined in the Presidential Commission’s report and other reports of the commission appointed by the government to look into the attack. Three years later, it has in reality proved to be an eye-opening exercise for the victims and Christians as well as the general public who are interested in the true facts of this subject.
Another viewpoint shared at this event, stated that the Easter Sunday massacre, gave rise to a feeling of insecurity and confusion among the Sri Lankan people. Unfortunately, as the activation of justice mechanisms to alleviate the situation have not come to fruition, these sentiments have further intensified. Through the publication of this book, the Catholic Church aims to draw the attention of the Government and further make the public aware of these facts.
Addressing the occasion, Rev. Dr. Winston Fernando said that the main objective is to motivate the people and the relevant authorities to move forward. He further said that the book, a compilation of reports containing observations and recommendations made by various mechanisms, focusing on the reports of the Commissions appointed to investigate and report on the Easter genocide has been written to help find the truth.
The book ‘Thitha’, a publication of the National Catholic Communication Centre, was edited by Editor-in-Chief, Rev. Fr. W.N. Lal Pushpadeva Fernando OMI and Co-Editors Maximus Linton Fernando, Dr. Sachitha Mendis and Ajith Mendis.
The Cardinal, due to his inability to attend the ceremony, shared his message via a video recording. During his speech, he mentioned that evidence is now emerging that there was a massive conspiracy behind this heinous act and that religious extremism was on the surface, but that a political group was active to turn that extremism to its advantage. He further added that extremism is not an acceptable theory and anyone who tries to narrow down their religion, race and language and thus try to eliminate others through it would only inflict a deadly blow on humanity. He expressed his deep regret over the interest shown by the present government in this regard.
Veteran journalist Victor Ivan, former Minister Ferial Ashraff, Ven. Galkande Dhammananda Thero and Prof. Anton Meemana also spoke on the subject. The message for the back cover of the book was given by Ven. Induragare Dhammaratana Thero. Gloria – a victim of the attack – shared her emotional response to the Easter attack, bringing tears to the eyes of many in attendance. She repeatedly called for a full stop to such barbaric attacks, not just a comma.
‘Thitha’ contains a study and summary of several key commission reports such as the Presidential Commission of Inquiry, the Select Committee of Parliament, the Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security to name a few. The book covers the critical points covered in the reports and have been summarised for the ease of understanding.