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Let us Rise above Provocative Acts of Violence
A Statement by the Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo
CEYLON 080117-1
January 17, 2008

[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] 
Yesterday's senseless massacre of innocent villagers at Okkampitiya must receive the condemnation of all peace loving people in Sri Lanka and indeed the world. This is clearly the work of the LTTE that revives tragic memories of similar massacres of the innocent in the past.

The fact that those killed and injured are humble and impoverished villagers living under tremendous hardship in one of the most deprived regions of the country makes their massacre even more tragic.

I offer the heartfelt condolences and the assurance of prayers of our clergy and congregations to the families of the bereaved. We pray also for the speedy recovery of those injured. May the God of consolation and healing embrace you and accompany you in your pain and loss.

With every such act of violence against innocent civilians the LTTE demonstrates its inability to consistently pursue dignity and freedom for the Tamils in a disciplined and civilized manner. Every such act is also a step backwards from a negotiated settlement for peace and adds to the prevailing suspicion and tension amongst the ethnic communities of this country, most of whom are peace-loving and non-violent. I have no doubt that the Tamil community in this country itself condemns such atrocities.

While the Government military action and security measures tend to be extremely provocative, I call upon the LTTE to immediately refrain from any further acts of violence against innocent civilians. The LTTE must return to an agenda that leads to negotiations and sustainable peace and ipso facto for the safety and right to life of all civilians. I appeal to the people of all communities and people of all faiths in particular to extend their influence to maintain calm and rise above such provocative acts of violence and yet strive towards a non-violent and negotiated settlement of our national crisis.

The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera
Bishop of Colombo
17th January 2008