As the tourists and locals in Sri Lanka were having a gala time on Easter Sunday morning, six near simultaneous blasts rocked three hotels and three churches killing around 156 people. Reports indicate that around 400 people have been injured out of which 35 are foreigners. The officials stated that it is one of the deadliest explosions ever to happen in the country.
Blasts Occurred During Easter Sunday Mass
It seems that the blasts were specifically targetted towards local people regularly attending mass in the church. The blasts occurred at around 8:45 am simultaneously at the Western Coastal town of Negombo’s St Sebastian’s Church, St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, and a church in the eastern town of Batticaloa.
According to Ruwan Gunasekera, a police spokeswoman, the blasts occurred when the Easter Sunday mass was in progress. At the same time, three explosions took place at the five-star hotels- the Cinnamon Grand, the Shangri-La, and the Kingsbury in Colombo.
The administrative officials have admitted the injured locals as well as the foreigners to the Colombo General Hospital. According to the Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution, Harsha de Silva, “Many casualties including foreigners.” Until now, no group has come forward to take responsibility.
President Srirsena Shocked
Prior to this, the land of Sri Lanka faced many deadly attacks by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) running a military campaign against a separate homeland for Tamils in the eastern and the northern provinces of the island nation. LTTE continued the campaign for 30 long years. But since its collapse almost a decade ago in 2009 after the Sri Lankan army killed their supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran the country has been at peace.
That is why President Maithripala Sirisena was stunned with these blasts. According to Sirisena, “I have been shocked by this totally unexpected incidents. The security forces have been asked to take all action necessary.”
Indian High Commission Monitoring Situation
Immediately after the blast, the government of Sri Lanka called for an emergency meeting and has taken all the necessary steps. The government is planning to come out with a statement soon. Harsha de Silva stated, “Horrible scenes. I saw many body parts strewn all over. Emergency crews are at all locations in full force. We, at 1990 also have close to 20 units at various locations. We took multiple casualties to hospital. Hopefully saved many lives.”
In its tweet, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said “We are closely monitoring the situation. Indian citizens in need of assistance or help and for seeking clarification may call the following numbers: +94777903082 +94112422788 +94112422789. In addition to the numbers given, Indian citizens in need of assistance or help and for seeking clarification may also call the following numbers +94777902082 +94772234176.”