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Crime

Monks attack Methodist evangelist in Mahiyanganaya

By Nisali De Silva

The Methodist Church has accused three Buddhist monks of attacking an evangelist student in Mahiyanganaya on Sunday (4).

President Bishop Asiri Perera told RepublicNext that a group of four monks flanked by a mob had forcibly entered a local Methodist house of worship. Three of the monks had proceeded to harass and assault the student who had been conducting a sermon there. Having demanded information on his identity, the three monks had beaten him on his head, stomach and spine.

The fourth monk, the chief incumbent of a local Buddhist temple, had tried to intervene and rescue the young evangelist, Perera said.

Attributing to the attack to a “notoriously extremist group that promotes religious disharmony and conflict in the country”, the Bishop said his Church has lodged two complaints at the Hasalaka police station over the incident. However, an arrest has yet to be made.

An officer at the Hasalaka police station acknowledged the complaints to RepublicNext and said that investigations are underway.

“I have a lot of respect for Buddhism, but these kinds of acts are damaging the name of Buddism. This incident has taken place in front of our church members. I am very disturbed by this situation and we are waiting forward to legal action,” said the Bishop.

“This is not the first time such a thing happened. We have faced many discriminations in the past. I have written to the Prime Minister in this regard. I will take this very seriously and will not hesitate to take this problem to an international forum if no fair solution is given,” he added.

The assaulted evangelist is currently receiving treatment in an undisclosed Government hospital.