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A Sri Lankan man killed in one of the Easter Sunday suicide bombings is being credited with saving lives by following his instincts. Ramesh Raju, 40, denied a stranger entry into Batticaloa’s Zion Church, which was filled with about 450 people. The stranger Raju confronted turned out to be a suicide bomber.
Shortly afterward, that “dangerous seeker” blew himself up outside the building, killing 28 people. If not for Raju’s perceptiveness and quick thinking, authorities say, the toll would have been much higher.
Sunday - School - Chrishanthini - Raju - Wife
After teaching Sunday school, Chrishanthini, Raju’s wife, accompanied a group of children—including her two—outside to enjoy snacks before Easter worship. As the family stood near the church entrance, a lone individual wearing everyday clothes and a large backpack approached them.
“My husband sensed something was wrong,” Chrishanthini says. The stranger explained he was carrying a video camera and planned to film the worshipers. Raju told him he’d need permission first and “then forced him to leave,” Chrishanthini recounts. She went into the church with the couple’s children, but before Raju could join them, an explosion rocked the property.
Debris - Chaos - Hours - Chrishanthini - Raju
Amid the debris and chaos, it took hours for Chrishanthini to find Raju’s body: by the church door, right where she’d seen him last. As mourners paid their respects at the family’s home this week, Chrishanthini shared memories with a reporter, crying, “I love my Jesus, I love my Jesus.”
Chrishanthini is no stranger to grief. Both her parents were killed during Sri Lanka’s civil war, and an aunt died...
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