NCEAL Update of Incidents – 7th August 2005

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National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL)

Update of incidents – 7th August 2005

FourSquare Gospel Church – Horana (Kalutara District)
On the 7th August 2005, the Horana Police ordered Christians from the Foursquare Gospel Church to stop meeting for worship and prayer. The verbal order was issued by the HQi (Head Quarters Inspector) after a mob threatened the worshippers on two consecutive Sundays – 31st July and 7th August 2005.

On the 1st of July 2005 the pastor and landlord were pressurized by several persons to stop the meetings. On a complaint made by these persons, the pastor was asked by the Police to produce written evidence supporting their legal right to meet for worship. By a letter through an attorney, the Pastor presented evidence of their Legal right to worship. The Police accepted this position and advised the protestors to allow the worshippers to meet in peace.

On the 29th July, the Pastor was asked to come to the Police station again, as there was a petition against him and the worshippers meeting, signed by many people from the village. He was advised to find a suitable solution to the situation.

On the 31st July, Worshippers accosted on their way for prayer & worship by gangs, threatened and chased away. Pastor threatened and pressurized again to stop meetings. Police entry made by pastor No. CIB 3(3) 299/14 at Horana Police.

On the 6th August 2005 Saturday, the Pastor received information that there is a plan to intimidate worshippers on Sunday (7th). A request for Police protection was made. A mob of approximately 50 persons arrive with a Buddhist monk & demand that the meetings must stop. Worshippers (about 12 in number) who were present were threatened to leave and not return. The pastor called the Police again and requested their intervention. Both parties were asked to come to the Police station to resolve the matter. The instigators claimed the Christians have no right to meet for worship in a 99% Buddhist village. Various unsubstantiated accusation made against them, based on the Buddhist Commission Report (which is a report; not law). Police accept that Christian worshippers have a Constitutional right to meet to manifest their faith, however, the HQI orders the Pastor and worshippers to stop meeting with immediate effect, as the meetings have led to a situation where it has caused a disturbance of the peace. Worshippers also told not to meet in a different location for worship.

8th August 2005