Assault on Methodist Church trainee Freedom of religion denied, yet again

20 August 2019 12:05 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • The Bishop had also instructed a priest in Bibile to make another entry at the same Police Station
  • Bishop Perera expressed his concern on the inaction of the police at the Hasalaka Station, as little effort has been made in bringing the perpetrators
  •  to book

 

On August 4 (Sunday) 28-year-old evangelist and father of four, training under the Methodist Church, was allegedly attacked by three Buddhist monks after finishing a service at a house in Weragantota, Mahiyanganaya, Bishop Asiri Perera disclosed.

The victim (who on the request of the Bishop preferred to remain anonymous) revealed that the incident had taken place at the end of the service, around 11:30am. While praying for a few people, he had noticed four Buddhist monks entering the premises and questioning the people attending the service. Upon approaching them, he had been questioned by them. They had then asked for his national identity card, which he had handed over. Additionally, he had given them the letter issued by the Bishop, stating that he was a trainee under the Methodist Church. According to the victim, after handing the letter over, three of the monks had allegedly begun beating him. “After taking the letter, they didn’t ask me anything else and they went on beating me” said the Bishop Perera adding, “He had been brutally beaten on the head, stomach and the spine”.


According to Bishop Perera the trainee had to ride for nearly 180km to his training college to ensure his safety. Having collapsed on arrival, he had been admitted to the Wathupitiwala Hospital. “After he arrived at the premises he collapsed and then he was taken to the hospital close by. And that night the JMO examined him and the police obtained his statement,” the Bishop said. Expressing his concern on the trainee’s health, he revealed that the trainee’s eardrum had been damaged and there was a possibility of further internal injuries. “There is heavy contusion that could have affected him internally. I am very worried about him”, the Bishop said. Having been released from the hospital on August 6, the Bishop stated that he would be brought to Colombo for further examination.

 

  • According to the Bishop the trainee had to ride to his training college to ensure his safety
  • The attack that took place on August 4, is only one of many incidents against those of the Christian faith


Bishop Perera, said that one of the four monks had been from the village temple, but he had not been part of the assault, which according to him, had been solely carried out by the other three monks present. “The people over there told me that the monks who had assaulted the boy had not come from the village temple”. This statement was confirmed by the victim.
When asked if he was aware of the identity of the three Buddhist monks involved in the assault, the Bishop mentioned that a name connected to the perpetrators had been given to him, but he would not expose them as it is the job of the law enforcement authorities to do so.


The owners of the house, at which the service was conducted, filed a complaint at the Hasalaka Police Station on the day of the incident. On August 5, the Bishop had also instructed a priest in Bibile to make another entry at the same Police Station.


When asked if there were any prior incidents or opposition against conducting the service, the Bishop revealed that they had been conducting a small service at this particular house for around six to seven months and there had been no prior incidents. “There were no indications of opposition at all. We have very peacefully carried out our service there. We don’t have sound systems and everyone is seated in the house and nothing is held outside. I have given instruction to the churches in those areas not to disturb the neighbourhood,” the Bishop said.


 


More information would be available after the inquiry: 


Ruwan Gunasekara


 

Attempts made to obtain information from the Hasalaka Police OIC proved futile.


Speaking to the Dailymirror   , Police Media Spokesperson, Ruwan Gunasekara, confirmed the attack and stated that the necessary statements had been taken from the victim by the police at the Hasalaka Station. He further stated that, more information would be available once the inquiry involving the victim, Bishop Asiri Perera and the alleged perpetrators was held. This was confirmed by the Bishop. However, he said that he did not want to send the victim back as he feared for his safety.


“I cannot understand why the constitutional right is not upheld for Christians” The attack that took place on August 4, is only one of many incidents against those of the Christian faith. The Bishop himself was a victim of such an attack this year, which occurred on Palm Sunday in Anuradhapura. 


The Bishop expressed that everyone should have the freedom to believe and practice his or he religion. “I cannot understand why the constitutional right is not upheld for Christians. I am very disturbed about that. We have been waiting for this promise to be delivered for several years and I am totally disappointed that these attacks are continuing in succession. We are a community that will not react violently, but I am sad that our silence and forbearance are being taken for granted by the authorities. Those who are in governance and those who are in the opposition should speak out for us. We are also citizens of this country”, the Bishop said.


Inspector General of Police to look into the incident


Bishop Perera expressed his concern on the inaction of the police at the Hasalaka Station, as little effort has been made in bringing the perpetrators to book. 


Speaking to the Dailymirror  on August 11, Bishop Perera, revealed that the Prime Minister in response to his letter on August 10 had arranged for a meeting with the Inspector General of Police (IGP). The Bishop, accompanied by this community’s lawyer along with the victim met with the IGP on August 11. He observed, that the hearing had gone well and the IGP had understood the situation. They were scheduled to meet the IGP again on August 16. “I am positive there would be a positive response”, the Bishop said.


At the meeting with the IGP on August 16, the OIC of the Hasalaka Station had been present, the Bishop reveled. The OIC had stated, that the victim’s statement taken at the Wathupitiwala Hospital and the entry made at the Hasalaka Station by the Priest from Bibile were missing. Bishop Perera added that the IGP has instructed the Deputy Inspector General of Police of Kandy to look into the inaction of the police regarding this incident. He further revealed that a meeting with both parties is scheduled to take place on September 7 at the Hasalaka Station.


Pix by Waruna Wanniarachchi

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