NCEASL - Sri Lanka Incident Report - March 2010

General April 10, 2010

April 10, 2010

Church vandalized by mob, services suspended 
Church of the Foursquare Gospel  
Germanwatte, Pugoda (Gampaha District) 

28th March 2010
At approximately 10.30 a.m. a mob of about 150 people led by 3 Buddhist monks forcibly entered the church premises. They hurled stones at the building and destroyed chairs and other furniture. The pastor was threatened with death by the mob who shouted at him to stop Christian worship in the area.  Following information and threats of an impending attack on the church, the usual morning service was postponed and hence the congregation was not present during the incident. Some of the attackers spat in the face of the elderly mother in law of the pastor who was present. A complaint made to the Police was later withdrawn, in the hope of reaching an amicable settlement after the Parliamentary Elections (sceduled for 8th April) and the church suspended services due to the very tense and volatile situation that prevailed.This ministry has functioned in Germanwatte since 1996.    

Christian youth assaulted and arrested following altercation  
Assemblies of God   
Wellawaya (Monaragala District) 

22nd March 2010 
At approximately 7.00 p.m. four youth who were on their way from a prayer meeting at the church were accosted and assaulted by the owner of a hotel which is located near the church, resulting in an altercation between them. The owner of the hotel claimed he sustained an injury and was hospitalized for treatment. The four youth were subsequently arrested by the Police, based on his compliant alleging he was attacked by these four youth who are strangers to the village. Contrary to his allegation, all four young people are children of families resident in the village for many years. A complaint was lodged at the Wellawaya police station on the 22nd night.

It is reported that the hotel owner has in recent months acted aggressively towards the congregation, hurling abuse at them while they went to the church.

Later that same night, the church was stoned by unidentified persons.    

Dedication service disrupted by mob  
Church of the Foursquare Gospel   
Kalutara (Kalutara District) 

6th March 2010
The dedication service of the pastor's residence was disrupted by a large mob of over 100 persons led by several Buddhist monks and individuals with close links to certain politicians. The mob shouted abuse at those gathered for the service and threatened the pastor to stop the service. They declared this was a Buddhist country and Christians need permission to conduct meetings and services and threatened those attending the service to leave the premises. Some of the monks sat inside the house and refused to leave.  

A complaint was lodged at the Kalutara Police by the pastor. The Police advised the Monks not to resort to violence but demanded that the pastor must show prior authorization from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Kalutara Urban Council to engage in religious activity at the premises. (This is not a legal requirement).  

The Pastor sought protection for his family, fearing an attack during the night. The Police provided a guard for the night.   

NCEASL