On the 16th of July 2016, while the Sunday School classes of the House Church Foundation in Kandegama in the Polonnaruwa district were in progress, at around 10 a.m., 12 members of the Young Men’s Buddhist Association (YMBA) arrived on the premises and announced that it was a Buddhist village and that the children of the village should not be taught Christianity. They also claimed that the pastor and his ministry workers were unethically and forcibly converting the residents of the village.
At approximately 10:30 a.m., while the worship service was in progress, a mob of around 30 villagers and 02 Buddhist monks converged around the church premises. A few members of the mob along with the Buddhist monks entered the church and falsely accused the pastor of unethically converting people. They demanded that the pastor and his congregation stop their worship activities immediately and leave the village. Further, they threatened violence if the pastor and the members of the church did not comply.
Following this, the pastor and a ministry worker went to the area police station at around 4:30 p.m. to lodge a complaint. However, they were refused and asked to return when the Officer-in-Charge was present.
On the 21st of July 2016, 02 pastors and a ministry worker arrived at the police station at approximately 10 a.m., for an inquiry with a Sub-Inspector (SI). The senior Buddhist monk from the village temple and 02 other villagers were also present. The Buddhist monk stated that Christians should not be allowed to observe and practice their faith in the village, including reading the Bible and praying in their own homes. The SI, however, stated that all citizens are guaranteed the right to religious freedom in the constitution. He also added that no one in the village should be made to observe Christian rituals against their will.
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