Montreal's Sri Lankans horrified by attacks, blame government for not acting
Published Monday, April 22, 2019 9:52PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, April 22, 2019 10:04PM EDT
Members of Montreal’s Sri Lankan community reacted with horror to Easter Sunday’s terrorist attack that left almost 300 people dead.
“My friends who have family over there were worried,” said Mohan Chitravelu, cultural secretary at the Murugan Hindu Temple in Dollard. “So were we, we do have family over there but thankfully our family is safe.”
Montreal’s Sri Lankan community is estimated to be 25,000 to 30,000 people, with many having relatives in Sri Lanka.
Father Jude Nixon, a Sri Lankan priest at Our Lady of Deliverance Church, said the violence disrupted what had been a peaceful Easter celebration.
“People were gathering on that day, then after the service the news came and we all cried and were very sad,” he said.
Christians represent a small minority of Sri Lanka’s population, but members of Murugan Temple said the victim’s beliefs didn’t matter to them.
“It doesn’t make a difference, it’s just human beings,” said Chitravelu. “You are Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, a human being was killed. That’s what conerns me.”
Some expressed anger and frustration at the government, saying it’s now being revealed that foreign intelligence services had come to them, saying there were possible threats. Those threats were not acted on due to corruption and dysfunction, said Murugan Temple worshipper Theiventhiran Kanthia.
“It happened because the central government didn’t take action,” he said. “There’s nothing to blame except for the government.”
Kanthia said the attacks brought back painful memories of the civil war Sri Lankans suffered through for more than two decades.
“It’s déjà vu. We thought we left all those struggles and wars 10 years back.”