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Sri Lanka

September 2014

Christians in Sri Lanka have been subjected to a four-day campaign by a hard-line Buddhist group, reports from Barnabas Fund have claimed.

According to a recent newsletter, Christians in the country have been facing increasingly vicious attacks as part of a campaign to stop the activities of Christian fundamentalists.

The campaign started in Polonnaruwa before visiting other parts of the eastern and north central provinces. In an ominous message, Ittekande Saddhatissa Thera, general secretary of political Buddhist group Ravana Balaya, said Christians should halt their activities.

If they failed to take heed, the group has pledged to take ‘firmer action’. He said that the group decided to conduct a campaign after receiving complaints from Buddhist monks and others about evangelism by Christians.

Buddhist groups such as the Ravana Balaya are becoming increasingly militant in the country. According to Barnabas Fund, in two recent incidents, Christians were hospitalised with injuries sustained in mob violence.

A pastor was knocked unconscious by a blow to the back of his neck in a raid on his home on 12 May. His family and four other Christians present were also attacked. About 150 people surrounded their house and began shouting abuse. Then about 40 people from the mob broke through the security fence around the property, used poles from the fence to smash the pastor’s van, and broke into the house and attacked those inside.

In the other incident, five Buddhist monks and 20 youths stormed a prayer gathering at the home of a Christian family in Waththegama, Kandy district, on 15 May.

A female Christian worker was visiting the family when two strangers arrived and requested prayer. It later transpired that the mob had sent the pair as a set-up. While the Christian worker was praying for them, the assailants burst in and assaulted the Christians.

They led the worker away to the local Buddhist temple, where they drenched her with water and subjected her to verbal and physical assault. A case was later filed against her for unethical conversions.