Sri Lanka (NCEASL): Incident Report, July 2009 Part (2)

General August 21, 2009

Continuing from our previous report (July 2009 - Part 1).
 

Series of attacks on Church causing injury to workers and damage to property 
Vineyard Community Church
Makandura (Kurunegala District)

- Church desecrated with human waste, robbery of water pump
29th June 2009
This church where two pastoral workers were subjected to a brutal machete attack on the 25th of March 2009, was desecrated with human waste. The water pump belonging to the church was stolen. Police complaint made.

- Property damaged
Around 6th July 2009

The well and the toilet of the church were found deliberately damaged. The assailant in the machete attack on the 25th of March 2009 (previously reported), who is out on bail, is suspected of causing the damage on or around Monday the 6th of July 2009. 

- Church care takers assaulted, furniture damaged
12th July 2009
At approximately 6 pm, the accused in the machete attack arrived with about 6 others, armed with swords. They attacked the caretaker and 3 other church members who were inside the church, damaged chairs and other furniture and slashed the tyres of a motorcycle. The church caretaker and another church member sustained injuries and were rushed to hospital for treatment. A complaint was made with the Pannala police.

- Church roof destroyed
12th July 2009
During the night, the roof of the unguarded church was completely destroyed. The roof tiles were thrown to the ground and smashed. A complaint was made to the Pannala Police.

- Anti-Christian flyers distributed
18th July 2009
Flyers calling people to ‘unite and save our motherland from fundamentalists’ were distributed in the area. The document contained wild allegations against the church as a centre of hatred, dividing the community and destroying peace. It called people to gather for a protest on the 19th of July 2009.

Christian man’s home demolished 
Kirindiwela, (Gampaha District)

- Prayer meeting disrupted by mob
6th July 2009
A young Christian man invited his pastor and some friends to pray and bless the second phase of construction of his home. While they were praying, about group of about 30 unruly persons entered the premises by force and demanded they stop worshipping. The prayer meeting was abandoned amidst threats by the mob to kill the house owner.

- Theft of tools, graffiti scrawled on wall
8th July 2009
A shed used for storing building material and tools where the house was being constructed was broken in to and tools stolen. A message was written on the wall of the shed and the wall of the half built house, using black tar, proclaiming a Buddhist blessing ‘Budhu Saranai’.

- House demolished
14th July 2009
The partially built house was destroyed by a mob. Concrete pillars were pulled down, damaging walls and the concrete slab it was supporting beyond repair.

All attempts by the victim house owner to seek protection after the initial incident failed, as the Police did not record his complaint. After the demolition of the house, further attempts to file a complaint failed and it was 2 weeks later that the complaint was recorded by the Police, through the intervention of a lawyer.

Eight suspects were produced in court on the 28th of July and released on bail.

A false rumour that the building under construction is a church was spread in the area. The victim encountered an absolute lack of cooperation when seeking justice, with even lawyers from the locality refusing to provide legal services. 
 

Pastor visiting church member’s home mobbed and ducked with cow dung
Church of the Foursquare Gospel

Radawana (
Gampaha District)
3rd week of July 2009

A pastor and wife visiting the house of a Christian family were verbally abused and threatened by a mob of about 50 persons who gathered at the entrance to the house. “We will not tolerate any Christian activity to continue in this village” they shouted, blocking the way and preventing the pastoral couple from leaving. The pastor was struck with a rod and drenched in a bucket of cow dung. The police arrived after about two hours after they called for assistance. Three persons were arrested and later reported released.

NCEASL