christian church    The ‘Hela Bodu Pawura’ consisting of a group of Buddhist monks refuted reports that they had attacked the Calvary Free church and Assembly of God (AOG) Church in Hikkaduwa yesterday.

While claiming that the media had distorted what actually took place, the monks said they had attempted to prevent the angry mob from harming the church and the worshipers.

The ‘Hela Bodu Pawura’ said it organised the “peaceful protest” yesterday against the worship center as it was operating illegally in violation of a police ban and a directive from the Government.

The monks said that the worship center had been banned from operating till next month.

The monks claimed that they were attacked by worshipers at the Calvary Free church during the protest and this forced the protesters to retaliate.

“The monks ran to stop the people from turning violent but the media gave the impression we were attacking the place,” one monk said.

The ‘Hela Bodu Pawura’ meanwhile demanded that the worship center be prevented from operating as per the existing directive.

Meanwhile the monks also insisted that they are not against Christianity or Islam and welcome worship centers operating according to the law without harming Buddhism.

The ‘Hela Bodu Pawura’ also accused Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana of misleading the public by telling the media yesterday that anyone can exercise their right to follow any religion.

The ‘Hela Bodu Pawura’ says while that right remains it cannot be done at an unregistered or unapproved church or worship center.

The police spokesman had said today that eight monks have been identified as being involved in the attack on the two churches in Hikkaduwa yesterday.

He said that in all 24 suspects have been identified and a report was to be submitted on the incident to the Galle Magistrate’s Court today. (Colombo Gazette)

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