Do not make a mockery of national security

Authorities should not make a mockery of national security - Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini

by Zulfick Farzan 29-09-2021 | 7:12 PM

COLOMBO (News 1st); Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando, the Spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Colombo said authorities should not make a mockery of national security.

"Personnel from the Navy had told parish priests about a threat and later that it was a mistake," Rev. Fr. Fernando told a press briefing on Wednesday (29), responding to reports that spread over a possible attack on churches.

He said such conduct poses serious questions with respect to National Security adding that if there was a threat it should have been communicated by the Ministry of Defence or a responsible officer from the intelligence services, directly to the Cardinal, in an official manner.

'These navy officers may have carried out orders given to them," said Rev. Fr. Fernando.

Serious concerns were raised when it was reported that several sailors had informed that an attack was imminent on the St. Nicholas Church in Wattala - Bopitiya.

Sri Lanka's Defence Ministry said the news circulating on the attack was based on basic information which was neither analyzed nor confirmed by the respective authorities.

Defence Secretary General Kamal Gunaratne (Retd) reiterated that there is no reason for the public to panic over the incident.

On Tuesday (28) morning, several sailors had visited the Church to deliver the information.

"One sailor came inside the church and said a senior officer was waiting outside and wanted me to come over there. When I went close to their vehicles, the senior officer said there could be an attack on churches," said one Church-goer to News 1st adding "He warned that the perpetrators may disguise themselves as priests and blend with the crows."

The sailors from the Uswetakeiyawa Navy Camp who had visited the church last evening analyzed the CCTV footage and said the sailors who showed up in the morning were from the Welisara Camp, and that they had committed a mistake.

Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne, the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy told News 1st that the matter will be looked into and measures were taken to address the miscommunication.

Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekera also echoed the same.

Rev. Fr. Sagara Hettiarachchi told reporters that such information spreading in a tourism zone will have adverse effects on the industry as well.