Lanka govt committed to dispelling terrorism: PM

Lanka govt committed to dispelling terrorism: PM

Mahinda Rajapaksa. (Reuters Photo)

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday said his government is committed to dispelling the "darkness of religious terrorism" and restoring security and peace in the country, as Christians celebrated the Christmas amidst unprecedented security arrangements across the island nation.

The Christmas services in churches across the country were held amidst heavy security arrangements due to the situation arising out of the Easter Sunday bombings in which nearly 270 people were killed in the coordinated suicide attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels on April 21.

Conveying his Christmas wishes to the nation, Rajapaksa requested all Christians in Sri Lanka to exercise their freedom of worship, without allowing extremist forces to succeed in suppressing that freedom, the Colombo Page reported.

He assured his government's commitment to the "task of dispelling the darkness of religious terrorism" and to restore security and peace in the country.

He said the Christians of Sri Lanka became the deliberate targets of religious fanatics who do not believe in the religious freedom of others, the daily said.

"This is symbolic of the sad plight that our motherland has been plunged into as a result of divisive and narrow-minded politics based on ethnicity and religion," he said.

The Buddhist-majority nation was about to mark a decade since ending a 37-year-long Tamil separatist war when nine suicide bombers from a local extremist group struck three churches and three luxury hotels in Colombo on Easter.