Left Menu
Development News Edition

WIDER IMAGE-Easter bombings aftermath: Blast sound silenced voices of children

Devdiscourse News Desk | Colombo | Updated: 17-05-2019 12:05 IST | Created: 17-05-2019 10:39 IST
WIDER IMAGE-Easter bombings aftermath: Blast sound silenced voices of children
Men, women and children of all ages were among those killed in the blasts across the country, claimed by Islamic State, that targeted churches and hotels.

In Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, a lane that used to be alive with the sound of children playing is silent. An entire family, including three children, died in an explosion at St Anthony's Church on Easter Sunday, one of a series of coordinated attacks by suicide bombers that killed more than 250 people. The youngest of the child victims was only 11 months old. Bevon, 9, and Clavon, 6, also died in the April 21 blast. An eight-year-old cousin, Joshua, is struggling to come to terms with the loss. "I love my cousins. I'm sure they'll be back soon and then we can cycle and play in the street," he said.

Men, women and children of all ages were among those killed in the blasts across the country, claimed by Islamic State, that targeted churches and hotels. Most of the victims were Sri Lankan, from all walks of life: a top chef, a teenage basketball player, an auto-rickshaw driver, a carpenter. They left behind treasured possessions those that loved them cannot bear to move, as well as the empty spaces where they lived, worked and played.

ABANDONED SEWING

Priyantha Jayakody had skipped morning mass at St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo that day because of an injured foot, but he listened to the sermon through an open window in his first-floor apartment overlooking the church.

After the explosion, he grabbed his crutches and hopped down the stairs. As he reached the street he could see people running out of the church. His wife Kritika, and their 17-year-old-son, who were both at the service, were nowhere to be seen. She was killed and his son is battling for his life in intensive care. Since that day, Kritika's sewing machine has sat in the family's living room, a spool of thread loaded, awaiting her return.

"She would always take care of me, my son and our house. She had just bought cloth and was making new curtains," said Priyantha, wiping away tears. "My life changed in seconds."

Chandima Yasawardheena lost her husband and their two teenage daughters in the Negombo blast, the deadliest of the eight bombings, in which more than 100 people perished. Weeks after the attack, the school bag of her younger daughter, Wishmi, 14, lies on her bedspread. Moving anything would mean coming to terms with the fact she isn't coming back.

"I don't feel like my daughters have left me. I don't want to accept it," Chandima said, her face bandaged from a shrapnel wound. Shantha Mayadunne, an acclaimed chef who hosted a television cooking show, was killed with her daughter minutes after the latter uploaded a selfie of them having breakfast in the Shangri-La hotel.

"She used to bring everything, including utensils and vegetables, from her house for the show," said her producer, Sirimalee, gesturing to her workspace on the set. "We still can't believe she won't be back in this studio, which was her kitchen."

EMPTY CLASSROOMS

In Batticaloa, on Sri Lanka's east coast, 14 children were among the 29 killed in a blast at the Zion Church. Jackson, a promising basketball player who was captain of his school team, died on the spot. "He was my only child. I coached him to play basketball and we enjoyed playing together. Now my whole future generation is gone. Nothing is left," said his father, Arasaratnam Verl, as he looked at Jackson's jerseys and basketball.

"I wish I had gone to the church with him that day," he said. Schools across Sri Lanka have begun to reopen but in Batticaloa, one student, nine-year-old Kevin Kuventhirarasa, will never return. He was killed while at Sunday school at the Zion Church.

"He was very active, generous and helpful," said his teacher Vijithakumary Suthagar, in the empty classroom where she used to teach him. "I don't know how I will explain his absence to his classmates."


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

‘Discounted Deaths’ and COVID 19: Anthropology of Death and Emotions

Death is a social event rather than the mere cessation of biological functions. As seen by anthropologists, death is not just physical but intensely social, cultural, and political....

Indigenous knowledge of communities a must for maximizing impact of community work

Generally, it has been observed that the majority of the academicians in higher education institutions neglect the wisdom of community people and throw their weight around thinking that they know everything and the community knows nothing. ...

In rebuking FBR, Pakistan’s courts take a stand for public health

The system, if implemented effectively, will allow Pakistans revenue service to combat the illicit trade in tobacco products and potentially add hundreds of millions of dollars to the states budget each year. ...

Dissecting how COVID-19 is catalyzing the trajectory of New World Order

The ensuing pandemic of COVID-19 has hit the globalization in two ways firstly, shrinking the importance of globalization as an economic force by curtailing mobility through worldwide lockdowns, and secondly, rejuvenating the idea of indig...

Videos

Latest News

FACTBOX-Key climate spending in EU's "green recovery" plan

The European Commission unveiled a 750 billion euro 826.3 billion package on Wednesday which it says will put fighting climate change at the heart of the blocs recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Billed as the worlds biggest green stimu...

Woman delivers baby inside Shramik train in MP's Ratlam

A 28-year-old woman gave birth to a baby boy inside a Shramik special train at Ratlam railway station on Wednesday while she was travelling to her native place in Uttar Pradesh from Gujarat, an official said. After the delivery, the woman a...

With tourism hammered by lockdown, Cyprus expects July comeback

Cyprus hopes to regain lost ground in its tourism sector from July and expects to be able to re-admit British and Russian visitors by then after weeks of lockdown. The Mediterranean island moved swiftly to contain the outbreak, ordering a b...

ANALYSIS-With debt crunch looming, Sri Lanka needs help from its friends

Sri Lankas finances were fragile long before the coronavirus delivered its blow, but unless the country can secure aid from allies like China, economists say it may have to make a fresh appeal to the IMF or default on its debt.All the tell-...

Give Feedback