International Christian Concern, 1 August 2022 (excerpts)
The wildly unpopular new president of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe, elected last month amidst widespread turmoil due to the country’s economic crisis, has recently prompted anger amongst Sri Lanka’s Christian community. Two particular affronts have prompted this.
First, he requested that the Supreme Court remove his name from the list of required respondents to petitions concerning the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings which killed 250 and injured 500 while he was Sri Lanka’s prime minister. Investigations into these bombings are ongoing. The president’s move to excuse himself from these deliberations instead of focusing his efforts on salvaging his country’s economy have riled the nation’s Christians.
The second incident was a police raid on a church in the capital. Authorities stormed the church in search of Fr Amila Peiris, a major figure in the anti-government protests persisting since Sri Lanka’s economic collapse. Fr Peiris is accused of participating in a June rally and banned from leaving the country. These allegations are likely just excuses for repressive state measures against the clergyman. The authorities targeting of Fr Peiris has further compounded Christians anger against Sri Lanka’s new president.
The Sri Lankan Christian Solidarity Movement asserted, “We strongly urge the government to respect people’s freedoms enshrined in the country’s constitution.” They also reaffirmed their commitment to peaceful dissent.