The Sunday Leader

Jhu Vows Legal Action Against Prayer Services

The damaged Christian Centre at Koswatte  Photo by Asoka Fernando

The damaged Christian Centre at Koswatte Photo by Asoka Fernando

By Nirmala Kannangara

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) is planning to initiate legal action against  the holding of public prayer services following the death of two women last month at a Christian healing service at the Viharamahadevi Park in Colombo.

JHU  Western Provincial Councilor and former DIG H.M.G.B. Kotakadeniya told The Sunday Leader that he was against illegal conversions and such activities must be stopped immediately.

“This is a Buddhist country and as Buddhists we do not tolerate such illegal conversions. If the Pastor referred to really has divine power to ward off evil powers of the sick why doesn’t he visit hospitals all over the country and hold prayers to cure the sick,” Kotakadeniya queried.

He also denied allegations that  he had threatened the workers at the Centre.
Kotakadeniya however claimed that monks who took part in the demonstration held in front of the healing centre at Koswatte early this month did not attack the church at any point, despite the centre suffering serious damage.

Meanwhile,  the Heads of Churches of the National Christian Council  of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) have called on the police to carry out an impartial investigation into the incident following the attack on the centre allegedly by members and supporters of the Jathika Hela Urumaya.

“The JHU led attack on the centre came following the death of two women on October 31. The police should ensure that investigations into the attack on the healing centre are conducted impartially and the outcome made known and those responsible for the criminal act are dealt with under the law,” the Council said.

The  NCCSL said that it was regrettable to see on TV how a mob led by Buddhist  monks acted with so much violence damaging the centre while police officers merely looked on.

“Violence as a form to solve problems by any group — religious or secular — no matter what the provocations may have been is wrong and must be condemned. We appeal to Christian groups engaged in public healing events to review their stance in the light of the wider teaching of Christ on healing and to engage in dialogue with other Christians,” a press release from the Council said.

Meanwhile the Mahanayake of the Amarapura Sect Ven. Davuldene Sri Gnanissara Thero and Chief Incumbent of Naga Vihara Kotte, Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero said that there should be an immediate stop to illegal conversions.

“As a Buddhist priest I vehemently disapprove of any act of violence by the Buddhist  monks but we also must understand that we cannot close our eyes and allow  such mysterious deaths to occur in the future. In a similar incident in Hanwella recently a child died at a prayer session and yet another death was reported from Gampaha. The law enforcement authorities should take prompt action against such movements but the Buddhist monks do not have a right to take the law unto their hands,” Ven. Sobitha Thero told The Sunday Leader.

However members of the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC) who spoke on  condition of  anonymity disapproved the conduct of the JHU Buddhist monks noting that their actions were a black mark on the sacred robe.

Meanwhile, even though the JHU monks denied attacking the centre, an eye witness who was at the scene claimed that the JHU Parliamentarians Ven. Ellawala  Medhananda and Ven.Rathana and their party supporters including Nishantha Warnasinghe were the notable protestors who thronged the Centre with more than 50 people demanding its closure.

“Even  the police who were there could not handle the protestors when they started to attack the Centre with stones and clubs damaging the entrance completely,” Keerthi an eye witness told The Sunday Leader.

However  justifying the violent  protest at the ‘Centre for Hope’ JHU Spokesperson Nishantha Warnasinghe told The Sunday Leader that, “If the government and the law enforcement authorities do not want to act on illegal conversions, the responsibility lies with the JHU to raise a voice against such illegal movements,” added Warnasinghe.

Meanwhile, Pastor Joseph defending his actions noted that he was in no way responsible for the death of the two women.

“Since I have a special power to cast out evil spirits from the bodies of those who posses the demon in the name of Jesus, many people from all over the country especially the sick come for my healing sessions. On this particular day too, more than 20,000 people thronged to the venue and while I was conducting prayers I was told that the condition of two sick women had turned to the worse and I immediately called upon their relatives to take them to the General Hospital,” claimed Pastor Joseph.

1 Comment for “Jhu Vows Legal Action Against Prayer Services”

  1. Somapala

    JHU threatens legal action for the drop of a hat. The last time the JHU threat of legal action was used against the people who exposed the JHU chief’s Mercedes Benz rort. That turned out to be a pus vedilla. This one appears to be a big fart. Only the JHU can cause serious damage without attacking!!!. Read on.
    Kotakadeniya however claimed that monks who took part in the demonstration held in front of the healing centre at Koswatte early this month did not attack the church at any point, despite the centre suffering serious damage.
    Small Miracle, no,

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