On the 16th of March 2016, the pastor of the Church of Deliverance in Mandur in the Batticaloa district, arrived at the funeral house of a deceased congregation member, at approximately 7 p.m. Here he was threatened and told by a villager that they would not allow the deceased to be buried according to Christian burial rites. Subsequently, the pastor lodged a complaint in the area police station concerning the threat.
The next day, on the 17th of March, at the funeral house, the pastor became aware that police officers had informed a relative of the deceased about the complaint. Thereafter, at approximately 11:30 a.m., while the pastor was at the public cemetery, around 300 villagers surrounded the area. Notably, the leader of the Hindu temple was also amongst them. He claimed that the cemetery is traditionally a Hindu place of burial and that they would not allow the body to be buried according to Christian burial rituals. The pastor was forced to bury the deceased according to Hindu burial rites, in spite of 02 policemen in civilian clothing being present at the scene.
On the 18th of March, the pastor went to the police station to lodge a complaint about the incident at the cemetery. The police officer present, agreeing with the villagers and the Hindu temple leader, said that he could not allow Christians to be buried at the public cemetery. He instructed the pastor to lodge a complaint with the Divisional Secretary. The pastor was requested to attend a meeting at the Pradeshiya Sabha later that month.
On the 30th of March, at the meeting at the Pradeshiya Sabha which commenced at around 10:30 a.m, 02 officers of the Pradeshiya Sabha, 12 villagers, and the Hindu temple leader were present . The villagers said that even though the cemetery was public, the Hindu community was against any Christians being buried there. Since this matter could not be settled amicably, the issue was referred to a mediation board.
©Incident Reports National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
If the content here is used on another web page, the original link on the NCEASL site must be provided
For detailed information on the incidents, please email [email protected]