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Incident Reports

The following are some of the incidents of violence against Christians since Christmas 2003. Many others have gone unreported.


 

March - June 2004

Incident Reports >>

Date

Area

Church

Description

4th March

Yakkalamulla, Galle District

Calvary Church

Pastor's house attacked at night & stoned, damaging windows.

11th April

Wadduwa (Kaluthara District)

Christian Fellowship Church

The Church which has existed in the village for over 6 years was closed down due to threats in December 2003. (see report 28th December 2003).

Police entry No. CIB 2 27 319, Wadduwa Police station. Church closed since then due to threats. Pastor sought Police advice to resume services on Good Friday. The Police advised not to, but service was held on low key without incident.

On Easter Sunday, the congregation of about 100 people met at the Church for worship. Before the service began, a mob of about 30 persons led by the Ven. Rahula of Bodhidhumaramaya, Talpitiya Wadduwa gathered outside the Church demanding the worshippers to come out. The mob stoned the Church damaging glass windows. The Pastor and the members including women and children were slapped and beaten with sticks. A complaint was made to the Wadduwa Police on the same day. Entry No. CI 393 82.

Police made a few arrests, but they were released later with the consent of the Pastor, who fears for his own and his congregation's safety.

12th April

Mahaoya - Ampara Disrtict

A.O.G. Church

The pastor living in a rented house has been receiving threats from monks and villagers to leave. His house was robbed on 3 different occasions. These incidents were reported to the local Police, but no action was taken.  Two anonymous petitions against the Pastor have been sent to the OIC of the local Police.

During the 10th-11th of December 2003, posters were put on the door of his house. A Police entry was made (CIB II 377 / QC 1130). At the inquiry that followed, it was decided on the advise of the temple Monk that the pastor should leave the area.

On the 12th of April, 2004 at about 3:30 in the morning, a group of unidentified individuals threw a locally made kerosene bombs at the Pastor' s house, attempting to set it ablaze. This attack resulted in some minor damages to the roofing tiles. Thankfully, the bombs caused no injuries. An entry was made with the Police (CIB II 174 / 57).

29th April

Hali-Ela, Badulla District"

Peniel Evangelical Church

The Chief monk of the Uduwara Pirivena made a complaint to the Badulla Police, that the Pastor was building an unauthorized structure. (the Pastor has submitted building plans to the Pradeshiya Sabha, which were duly approved and a building permit for a Church issued in August 2003.)

At about 11.30 p.m. a group of persons attempted to enter the Pastor's house by breaking down the doors. Kerosene was thrown and an attempt was made to set the house on fire. The neighbours intervened and prevented the house from being set alight. The pastor his wife and children were trapped inside.  Thereafter the mob proceeded to the land belonging to the church, destroying the temporary structure where the worshippers met. Concrete pillars of the new structure were pulled down. An entry was made at the Badulla Police station (CIB (2) 274/414). No investigation has been conducted by the Police up to now.

16th May

Yakkala, Gampaha District

A.O.G. Church

On the evening of 16th of May 2004, the home of the pastor was stormed by a mob of about 50 persons led by a Buddhist monk. They demanded that the pastor should stop conducting worship services in the Church and threatened him. Christian literature and tracts that were in the house were confiscated & taken away.

18th May

Mahawewa, Puttlam District

Prayer Tower Church

The pastor is building his personal residence. A rumour has spread that he is building a Bible School, causing opposition from the villagers and the temple. On the 17th May 2004, the pastor was threatened to stop the construction. On the 18th May 2004, a large mob of about 400 persons, including men from adjoining villages turned up at the pastor's house and threatened that he must stop construction. The unruly mob destroyed a tube well that was contrasted to obtain water. Rocks and stoned were thrown in to the well polluting it. The pastor has been warned not to approach the Police on this matter.

23rd May

Kalagedihens, Yakkala, District of Gampaha

A.O.G. Church

This church was attacked previously on the Sunday 16th of May 2004.

During the worship service, a group of about 20 persons arrived, some armed with clubs and sticks.  The pastor hid and called the Police. The mobs meanwhile verbally abused the congregation and assaulted some of them. A lady, mistaken for the pastor's wife, was beaten. Chairs, the pulpit and musical instruments were broken.

The Police caught one attacker. A Police entry has been made, identifying some of the attackers. It is commendable that the Police and the local grama sevaka have acted impartially in this case. Investigations are continuing.

25th May

Navatkerny, Batticaloa District

A.O.G. Church

During the night, this modest church building was set ablaze by unidentified persons. The structure was completely destroyed. A Police entry was made on the 26th May. The church continues to meet for worship services in a make-shift tent.

 

 

 

Navatkerny is a majority Hindu area.

 

 

 

 

31st May 2004, Gazette Notification of "Bill to prevent forcible conversion" is published.

16th June 2004, Cabinet approves Buddha Sasana minister's "Act for Protecting Religious Freedom"

 

 

 

 

18th & 19th June

Wadduwa, Kaluthara District

Christian Fellowship Centre

At approximately 7:00 pm, a group set off from the Bodhidumarama temple, Wadduwa in a van with loud speakers announcing, 'Let us join together to rid our village of the fundamentalist plague.'

On the 19th, at 6 p.m. about 50 monks from the Bodhidumarama temple and about 150 persons carrying banners and posters marched to the Church and staged a protest rally. Only the Pastor's two young daughters were home, together with 2 parishioners from the church. One of the Bikkus entered the Church building and began to chant "pirith" at the pulpit. The mob threw chairs at the Altar and pulled down Scripture banners that were hung inside the Church. The Pastor's daughters were surrounded, threatening them with physical harm. The OIC of the local Police arrived at the scene together with three other Police Officers as a result of a telephone call given by the Pastor's daughter. Although the Police tried to bring the situation under control, they were not successful. The mob left after causing damage to the church. No arrests were made. The Police placed a guard at the church.

20th June

Wadduwa, Kaluthara District

Christian Fellowship Centre

At 9 am, a small group tried to enter the church by force. Police on guard duty prevented them entering. About 10 monks arrived with about 200 individuals carrying banners, placards etc... and attempted to break in to the Church premises. The Police fired tear gas to control the crowd. The crowd threw several petrol bombs at the church, but only one exploded. Bricks and rocks were thrown at the building causing damage to the roof and windows.

The mob, angered by the actions of the police, pelted the Police jeeps with stones. The Pastor was forced to make a public declaration that he will stop holding meetings at the Church.

This incident was telecast on the Swarnawahini TV channel's 'Live at 8' news programme on 20th June 2004.

A press report was carried in the Daily Mirror of 21st June, page 4 highlighting this incident; but the name of the church was quoted incorrectly.

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