The following are some of the incidents of violence against Christians since Christmas 2003. Many others have gone unreported.
January - April 2006
|Incident Reports >>|
Alawwa (Kurunegala District)
King's Revival Church
This church which was threatened on Christmas day was subjected to verbal threats by a small group of people who shouted threats in abusive language at the pastor and a few Christians who had gathered for the morning service.
Alpitiya (Galle District)
At about 7.30 p.m. on the 21st January , a mob of about 20 men armed with rods & sticks walked in to the Pastor's home. The Pastor's wife was home alone during this time with their 3 small children. She was nursing the youngest baby, when 5 men walked in to the bedroom. They demanded to know where the pastor was. Having learned that he was not at home, they issued an ultimatum, that the pastor must stop services and all Christian activity. The men overturned a table, chairs and other furniture in the house before leaving with the threat that If he fails to do so, they will destroy all their belongings. The Police were alerted and the Sunday service was held with Police protection. Police entry no. CIB 10/415 Alpitiya Police Station.
Bolaththa, Ganemulla (Gampaha District)
On the 22nd January (Sunday) after the morning service, the church of about 50 people faced a large mob of approximately 500 persons, including about 20 Buddhist monks and a Catholic priest who arrived at the location. They carried placards and shouted threats, demanding that the services must be stopped. The mob threatened that they would return the next Sunday if the services continue.
On the 23rd, at about 3 a.m. the pastor's house was stoned, causing damage to widows. A complaint was made to Ganemulla Police. Entry No. CIB I 324/225
Galle (Galle District)
Dutch Reformed Church
At approximately 11 am in the morning, a man arrived at the Dutch reformed Church in Galle, on a motor cycle, looking for the Pastor in charge. The Pastor was not in at this time, only the care take and the Pastor's wife were there. The man made verbal threats, that if the Pastor visited the area of Hikkaduwa (Galle District) again, they will cut off his limbs and kill him. The man continued to make obscene and derogatory statements against Jesus Christ and Christians.
There is information that anti-Christian elements in the Galle District have made a list of prominent Christian clergymen from various denominations. This raises questions as to whether the above situation is an isolated incident or the beginning of a plot to unleash a wider circle of violence.
In January, Christians in the village of Werellana in Hikkaduwa received two threatening letters to kill the Pastor and the Christians in the village if the Pastor visited them again for services and prayer.
Yakkala (Gampaha District)
The pastor of the AOG Church in Yakkala was returning home from the market at about 6.30 in the evening when he was accosted on the road by 3 men whom he did not recognize. The men asked him to identify himself. The pastor replied that he was the pastor of the Church. They answered that he was the person they were waiting for and began to beat him on his head and body. He was admitted to hospital for treatment for minor injuries. A Police entry was made with regard to this incident.
6th February and 12th February
Bolaththa, Ganemulla (Gampaha District)
On the 6th of February, the pastor of the Church was called to the police station again for an inquiry. He was forced to agreed that they will hold services for only for the Christians in the Bolatha village and stop members of the congregation who are from other villages from attending the services.
On the 12th February (Sunday) about 15 persons gathered outside the Church gate and questioned each person coming to the Church what village they are from. Those who were not from Bolatha were chased away. The Police was called in again by the pastor and he clarified that the previous undertaking was not a choice on his part but one obtained under pressure. He further stated that any person has a right to worship at a church or temple of his choice and that he cannot ask his congregation members to stay away.
Reported 24th March
Elpitiya (Galle District)
Pas. Sarath Induruwa in Elpitiya of the Galle district has been receiving death threats over a period of time. Recently Pas. Induruwa and his family were mobbed. At this instance a family living nearby came to their assistance. The family provided a safe haven for them from the mob.
It is now reported that an unknown party has thrown excreta and burnt oil at the house of the family that provided shelter to the Pastor and his family.
A neighboring family has been providing drinking water from their well for the Pastor?s family. A few days ago, the children of neighboring family suddenly fell ill. When they investigated the cause of this sudden illness, they realized someone poured burnt oil and trickle seeds into the well.
On the 9th of April posters appeared in the vicinity, naming this church with the threat that if the Church did not close down there will be mass protests. A crowd of 24 people gathered outside the Church and chanted Buddhist chants 'gaatha'. The Church alerted the Police and the Police arrived at the scene. The protesters sought permission to stage a peaceful protest and left after a short peaceful protest.
This Church has in the past faced much hardship. It was bombed and then completely burned down on the 25th of September 2003. Subsequently in 2005, the Church was taken to court with the aim of closing it down. However, the court ruled that the Church had a right to exist and function.
Due to incidents that had taken place during the last few weeks, the local Police had stationed 3 Police Constables outside of the Church for the entire duration of the service. Shortly after the worship service commenced, some individuals in a three wheeler fitted with loud speakers started to shout anti Christian slogans and calling the people living nearby rally against these ‘Anti Buddhist’ Christians.
This brought together a group of about 100 individuals from the surrounding areas. The group then started shouting anti Christian slogans and marching around on the streets adjoining the Church. The group was prevented from entering the Church by the Police, but 2 monks accompanied by another man entered and started to shout and demand that the worship service be stopped immediately. The Police intervened and requested the Reverends present to finish the service as soon as possible as the situation was getting out of hand, which the Reverends did.
The group that was outside had let out the air from the tires of the vehicles parked outside the Church. They had also toppled the motorbikes and let out the petrol from the tanks and taken the helmets. The windshields of the car and the van used by the Reverends and the ministry team accompanying them had been smashed.
The group agreed to return the helmets to the believers after the Police spoke to them. As they were leaving the Church, one of the Reverends was slapped on the face by a person in the crowd and another person pinched the cheek of the female Evangelistic and said, “She is the cause of all this trouble”. The other Revered was struck below the knee with a flag pole (which was used to hoist the Buddhist flag) as he was getting on to his motorbike.