World leaders react to deadly Sri Lanka blasts

Scores of people have been killed across Sri Lanka in eighth deadly blasts. (File/AP)
Updated 22 April 2019

World leaders react to deadly Sri Lanka blasts

  • Eight blasts were reported in different parts of Sri Lanka
  • Nearly 160 people were killed in the blasts

COLOMBO: World leaders have condemned a series of blasts in Sri Lanka that killed more than 150 people on Sunday, including dozens of foreigners — with British, Dutch and American citizens believed to be among them.
Hospital sources also said Japanese citizens were among those injured by the bombs which ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services.
Here is a summary of the reactions:

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia condemns the series of terror attacks in Sri Lanka, an official in the foreign ministry said, Saudi state agency SPA reported.

The country expressed their condolences and sympathies to the victims of the attacks, and wished a quick recovery for the injured, the official added.

The official said it is essential that the international community cooperates against terrorism, which threatens the peace and stability of places all over the world.

United States of America

US President Donald Trump said the US sends its heartfelt condolonces to the people of Sri Lanka, adding his country is ready to help.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis condemned the attacks as "such cruel violence" and said he was close to the Christian community, hit while celebrating Easter.

United Kingdom
British Prime Minister Theresa May described the attacks as “truly appalling.”
“The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time,” she tweeted.
“We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practice their faith in fear.”

Netherlands

“Terrible reports from Sri Lanka about bloody attacks on hotels and churches on this Easter Sunday,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte tweeted after the attacks first emerged.
“Thoughts are with the victims and their relatives.”

Australia

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia was thinking of those killed in a “horrific terrorist attack.”
“To the beautiful people of Sri Lanka, Australia sends its heartfelt sympathies and our prayers and our support — and our offer to do whatever we can to support you in this terrible time of need,” he said in a statement.
“At this time as Easter Sunday draws to a conclusion here in Australia, our heart goes out to those Christians and all of those other innocents who have been slaughtered today in this horrific terrorist attack.”

New Zealand

A month after dozens of Muslims were killed in a shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the attack as “devastating.”
“New Zealand condemns all acts of terrorism, and our resolve has only been strengthened by the attack on our soil on the 15th of March. To see an attack in Sri Lanka while people were in churches and at hotels is devastating.
“New Zealand rejects all forms of extremism and stands for freedom of religion and the right to worship safely. Collectively we must find the will and the answers to end such violence.”

Catholic Church in Jerusalem

The Catholic Church in Jerusalem said the blasts were particularly sad as they “came while Christians celebrate Easter.”
“We pray for the souls of the victims and ask for speedy recovery of the injured, and ask God to inspire the terrorists to repent of their killing and intimidation,” the statement said.
“We also express our solidarity with Sri Lanka and all its inhabitants in their various religious and ethnic backgrounds.”

India

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed solidarity with the fellow South Asian country, and said “there is no place for barbarism in our region.”

Pakistan

Imran Khan also took to Twitter to condemn the attacks, saying: “My profound condolences go to our Sri Lankan brethren.”

Iran

Iran's foreign minister says he is “terribly saddened” by the Easter Sunday bombings.

Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that “terrorism is a global menace with no religion: it must be condemned & confronted globally.”

 

Lebanon

Lebanon's prime minister calls the attacks “blind terrorism” and offers solidarity to Sri Lanka's people.

Saad Hariri in a tweet asks for mercy for the “innocent victims” and speedy recovery for the injured.

France

French President Emmanuel Macron condemned Sunday the “odious” attacks that left 160 dead at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. “We strongly condemn these odious acts,” he wrote on Twitter. “Full solidarity with the Sri Lanka people and our thoughts for all those close to the victims this Easter.”


Empty classrooms as some schools re-open in Indian Kashmir

Updated 19 August 2019

Empty classrooms as some schools re-open in Indian Kashmir

  • The authorities said they were re-opening 190 primary schools in the city yet few children could be seen
  • India on August 5 ended the special constitutional status of Muslim-majority Kashmir

NEW DELHI: Some Kashmir schools re-opened on Monday but were largely empty following weekend clashes in Srinagar, two-weeks after India removed the restive region’s autonomy and imposed a lockdown.
The authorities said they were re-opening 190 primary schools in the city yet few children could be seen at half a dozen places visited by AFP.
Pakistan meanwhile said Indian fire across their de-facto border on Sunday killed two civilians and seriously injured a child, a day after New Delhi said Pakistani fire killed an Indian soldier.
India on August 5 ended the special constitutional status of Muslim-majority Kashmir, where a 30-year-old uprising against Indian rule has killed tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians.
Hours before its move, India severely curtailed movement and shut down phones and the Internet, bringing in tens of thousands of troops to turn the main city of Srinagar into a fortress.
Some 120,000 extra soldiers have been deployed, a security source told AFP, joining around 500,000 already in the northern Himalayan region divided with Pakistan since 1947.
At least 4,000 people have also been detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA), which allows imprisonment for up to two years without charge or trial, government sources said.
“Most of them were flown out of Kashmir because prisons here have run out of capacity,” a local magistrate told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Authorities have declined to comment on the numbers of people behind bars. Those picked up include local politicians, activists, business leaders and lawyers.
Officials said only that the “few preventive detentions” were made to avoid a “breach of the peace,” and that there was “no centralized figure” for the total number.
On Sunday family members held a wake for timber trader Sidiq Khan, 62, who relatives said had died after suffocating from tear gas fired by security forces in Srinagar.
A senior government official told AFP that a man in his mid-60s had died, and that a post-mortem “has not revealed any external or internal marks of injury.”
After some easing in previous days, authorities on Sunday reinforced heavy restrictions after eight people were injured during protests.
The Press Trust of India news agency cited unnamed officials saying there had been clashes in a dozen locations around Srinagar on Saturday.
Around 20 percent of landlines were working on Monday, an AFP reporter said. But mobile phones and the Internet were still cut off.
In Srinagar on Monday most main streets and markets were deserted, although some roads looked busier than in recent days.
Some teachers and administrative staff made it to schools but many others didn’t. PTI also reported that only a handful of children had come.
“We didn’t receive an official notification for re-opening the school from the local government but opened it after watching the news yesterday,” a senior official at Srinagar’s Burn Hall School told AFP.
Many schools stayed shut, with guards at the gate turning away any teachers or administrative staff who turned up.
“I don’t think parents will send their children to school if they can’t communicate and check on them whenever required,” a resident of the Rajbagh area of Srinagar told AFP outside the Presentation Convent School.
“I came here after watching the news yesterday but it doesn’t look like any students have come to school today. There are many other teachers who stay farther away and haven’t made it here,” one of the teachers at a local school told AFP.