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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2641

Catholic Church Must Condemn LTTE’s Contemptuous Attack on Thalladi Church or Acquiesce To LTTE Terror - SPUR

Melbourne, 16 February, ( The LTTE's unabated contempt for human rights and even religious places of worship surfaced once more with their latest barrage of artillery attack launched towards the highly venerated Thalladi St. Sebastian’s Catholic Church in Mannar, according to a statement from SPUR.

Dr. Dasarath Jayasuriya of SPUR commneing further added that according to media reports, six soldiers from the nearby army camp deployed to clean the Church for a Valentine Day’s sermon were killed due to this artillery fire. A further 10 soldiers had sustained injuries. What is most disturbing is that the attack took place after Rev. Fr. Thevaraja and four other priests had visited the location on Monday and made the request from the army for assistance. The desperation of the Tamil Tiger Terrorists knows no bounds. Nothing is sacred to them any more. Prabhakaran and his men have indulged in an orgy of violence for too long.

The Spur press statement gives below the instances of such wanton cruelty and destruction of things considered sacred by all of us.

Here are some of the atrocities committed by the LTTE:

1. Targeted killing over 30 children including infants in the last month (Butthala and Railway Station bombing)

2. Slit pregnant mothers open and mutilate stillborn foetuses (Dollar and Kent Farm assassinations)

3. Separated Buddhist monks from other bus passengers and shot them at point blank (Aranthalawa massacre)

4. Killed Muslims devotees whilst attending prayers at mosques (Kattankudi massacre)

5. Destroyed Buddhist archaeological sites and artefacts (attack on the Temple of the Tooth)

6. Killed the Hindu Priest who welcomed President Rajapaksa to Vakarai and attacked Kovils including that in Delft Island

A number of questions remain unanswered. Was the timing of the LTTE attack on the Thalladi church and the presence of the soldiers mere coincidence or well synchronised having prior knowledge of those requesting assistance from the army?

Earlier, on 9 February 2008, the LTTE fired 80mm mortar at the sacred Madhu church erroneously anticipating military presence in the area.

It is evident from this that the LTTE is working to drive a wedge between the liberating armed forces, the people living in the area, the Catholic church and the international and local Catholic community by initially destroying Catholic churches and then falsely accusing the Government.

Unfortunately, even the Administrator of the Madhu church, Fr Email has refrained from naming the LTTE as the perpetrator of this crime publicly.

The hierarchy of the Catholic Church must condemn these callous attacks against religious establishments and publicly shame and name the perpetrators as the LTTE.

Failure to do so emboldens the Tiger precipitating more callous attacks. They must not be able to get away with these types of attacks on places of worship, civil infrastructure and civilians in general.

Enough damage was caused when the Bishop of Mannar Rayappu Joseph called the LTTE ‘our boys’ and urged the Australian Government to stop providing aid to Sri Lanka whilst touring Australia some time ago. Members of SPUR were present at this public forum when Bishop Rayappu Joseph made this misguided plea. When SPUR members challenged Fr Joseph, he said that ‘our boys will rehabilitate in the near term’. This was awhile ago.

The ‘rehabilitated’ LTTE has now extended its catalogue of vicious acts to include destroying church infrastructure evidenced by the Thalladi bombing. Bishop Rayappu Joseph’s continued deadly silence and what he stated during his Australian tour are evidence of his tacit support for the LTTE.

It was also reported last weekend that a Christian priest named Nagulan and two other priests from the Four Square Church, a Christian evangelist group had been arrested associated with transporting a parcel containing two suicide kits, eight detonators, eight batteries, and six remote control devices. The thought of the mayhem and destruction caused by an explosion of this deadly cocktail should send a shiver down anyone’s spine. Hence it is evident that over the years unfortunately rogue elements linked to the LTTE have infiltrated the Catholic Church and are working behind the scene to subvert democracy.

For the sake of regaining confidence in the clergy, we urge the Church hierarchy to immediately begin a process to marginalize and expose the rogue elements bringing ill repute to the Church. Continued silence and inaction by the church hierarchy could be interpreted as tacit acquiescence. The onus is also on the Catholic congregation to pressure the Church hierarchy to act in the name of democracy and religious values.

- Asian Tribune -

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