15 May 2019
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Sri Lankan Arasaratnam Verl is deep in mourning.
His son Jackson (13) and sister Verlini (36) were killed instantly when a bomb exploded in the evangelical Zion Church in the eastern city of Batticaloa on Easter Sunday morning, 21 April.
Verlini’s husband Ranjith (39), an engineer and Blackbelt in karate, died a week later of kidney failure: he also had 3rd degree burns.
On her sixth birthday, Ranjith and Verlini’s orphan Eliza (6) was due to be transferred from Batticaloa ICU to a hospital in Colombo the next day: her womb had to be removed due to shrapnel injury. She was also blinded in one eye, the doctors were trying to save the other.
Also orphaned was her 8 year old brother Rufus Isaac.
“My son Jackson and my sister died on the spot,” said Verl. “Jackson was captain of his basketball team. He used to compete in many places like Jaffna, Colombo. He’s the best in everything. He’s my only son.
“Jesus died on Good Friday, and on Easter Sunday, He was raised back to life. My son, sister, and brother-in-law died, but they were raised to new life with Jesus on that day.”
As a Sunday School teacher, Verlini had read the Bible cover to cover 27 times, Verl shared. “On Easter Sunday, she’d ensured the children [understood why Christ had died on the Cross], they’d confessed their sins and accepted Jesus. After that, she and the children went down for breakfast [in the church portico] and the explosion went off.”
“Losing someone hurts. They are special people. They were not killed. They were sown like seeds. And the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church”.
The following video features in the above report:
Several migrant groups in Sri Lanka have been seeking protection in the police stations of Negombo after a series of attacks. Afghan and Pakistani asylum seekers have complained about threats to their lives from the local community after the series of bomb attacks.
We spoke to one of the frightened asylum seekers, he described events of the past few days and explained how dangerous the situation is, he said:
“For the last 4 days large groups of local Sri Lankans have been threatening to kill us if we stay in our homes.
“Some homes have been attacked in Sea Street, and Peter Mendes Road and in the area of Daluputhoa.
“My family and I were attacked in Dalupothoa when my home was broken into and rioters came in and vandalised the property I rented while we were forced to watch – they began to beat us.
“We were told the violence enacted upon us was in retaliation for the series of recent bomb attacks.”
“I begged them to stop beating us and explained that we were innocent and that there were children in my home. The men said our Christian children have been killed why should we save yours.
“The men beating us until other Sri Lankan local residents came to my rescue and explained I was a Christian – even then the gang wanted me out of the area as they said I was a Pakistani first and then Christian.
“I had called 119 for the police when the men first started beating on our door – but no police came.
“My Landlord then called me and told me to return his house key as I was being evicted because he had received threats that my building will be burnt down if I stay home.
“We have taken shelter in local police stations after being advised by local Christian leaders, but now we are too fearful to leave their forecourts.
“We believe the threats are real and that we will be killed if we dare to exit outside the station – these people mean us real harm.”
Eleven other relevant reports are listed in the full notes for this session. The video below is highly recommended, it came to our attention in this report:
See the full notes for links to reports about Burkina Faso, Syria, India, Uganda, Iran, Algeria & Britain.