Sinhalese Buddhist radicals attack Protestant church
The attackers have apparently claimed that the church was unregistered and that conversions by Christians were a big problem for the village.
A monk and four of his followers attacked the Pentecostal Church of the Living Water in Meegoda, a village near Colombo, accusing its pastor of "forced conversions" and of "destroying" Buddhist culture. None of the attackers live in Meegoda.
The incident occurred on September 8. Pitipana Seelawansa Thero, a Buddhist monk who heads the Padukka Puraanas Viharaya Temple, led the attack, along with four of his followers: Rangana Jayarathna, Chandrapala, Sunil Perera and Damith Nilanga.
"The attack was unmotivated," Buddhist lawyer Susantha Dodawatta said, because "nothing happened between the two communities in the area."
The attackers claimed that the church was unregistered and that conversions by Christians were a big problem for the village. Despite complaints by the pastor, Reverend E K Pryantha, the police have not yet arrested the culprits.
"Such attacks," the lawyer said, "show that there is a political agenda that aims to unite the Buddhists. Everyone should have the freedom to change religion in this country. We Buddhists are the first to be harmed in our culture and religion from these petty actions. Whoever is behind this incident should not be supported. As a Buddhist, I feel embarrassed because real Buddhism is not about attacking and killing."
Tensions are rising in Sri Lanka because of the violence perpetrated by some radical Sinhalese Buddhists groups against Muslims and Christians.
Two extremist groups, the BoduBalaSena (BBS) and the Sinhala Ravaya (Sinhalese echo), have led the attacks, ostensibly on a "mission" to protect the Sinhalese population and the Buddhist religion.