Pope Francis calls for reconciliation in Sri Lanka

Pope Francis has encouraged the visiting Sri Lankan Bishops in their efforts of reconciliation and healing of the nation, local Catholic Church announced.

PTI| Last Updated: May 04, 2014, 10:37 AM IST

Colombo: Pope Francis has encouraged the visiting Sri Lankan Bishops in their efforts of reconciliation and healing of the nation, local Catholic Church announced.

The Pope yesterday met the bishops led by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith as part of their ad Limina Apostolorum visit to Vatican.
The Pope said much work needs to be done to "promote reconciliation, to respect the human rights of all the people and to overcome the ethnic tensions that remain."

Father Benedict Joseph, the local Catholic Church spokesman, said that the Pope took note of the reconciliation efforts being undertaken after more than 25 years of the civil war, which experts and rights groups claim killed 40,000 Tamil civilians.

The pope, however, expressed concern over the rise of inter-religious tensions, he said.

Sri Lanka has seen isolated acts of inter religious violence with Muslims coming under harassment by extremist Buddhist nationalist groups.
Last week, the activists of Buddhist nationalist groups like the Bodu Bala Sena stormed the offices of a senior Muslim minister.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa last month ordered the setting up of a special police unit to maintain religious harmony in the country.