POSTED AT 07:04 AM 19-04-2019
Mob attack on A’pura Church: Six individuals issued notices
Six individuals had been issued notices to appear in court on May 5 over their alleged involvement in the attack on a Methodist prayer centre at Anuradhapura on March 31, police said.
They said the six individuals were issued notices after they appeared before the Anuradhapura Magistrate yesterday.
Following a complaint by the priest-in-charge Rev. Dinuka Silva and Methodist Church Bishop Rev. Asiri Perera, the Anuradhapura Police on Wednesday summoned both parties to the police but no action had been taken against the offenders at that point.
Bishop Perera told media that there was a discussion between Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the IGP at Temple Trees yesterday where the Premier has assured that he would look into the issue and instruct the relevant bodies to take necessary actions.
The Bishop said the IGP promised that he would deploy police personnel to ensure security in the prayer centre premises during the prayer services conducted today being Good Friday.
When a journalist asked as to who was behind the attack, Bishop Perera said a group led by Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Councillor Nalin Siriwardena had instigated the attack on the prayer centre and threatened those who were observing religious practices on several occasions.
“They were insisting that we should close down our worship centre claiming that there cannot be any religious places existent in the surrounding, as the Provincial Council was about to launch a development project in the particular area,” he said.
“What a peculiar development project! How can religious centres hinder a development project?” Bishop Perera asked. However, he was of the opinion that there was a political force behind the incident which became evident with the alleged involvement of the SLPP PC member in the attack.
Nevertheless, he said former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa contacted him and expressed his concern.
“He said he was deeply worried and assured that he would look into the issue and would send a representative from his office to see as to what had really taken place,” Bishop Perera said.
Meanwhile, the Bishop said UPFA MP S. M. Chandrasena, who had also spoken to him, had denied any involvement of a SLPP PC member in the attack.
The Bishop concluded saying that they would carry out a silence prayer stand on the Galle Road (opposite the Methodist Church, Kollupitiya) at 2.00 pm today to preserve religious freedom of Christians.