Police Turn Blind Eye To Assault On Pastor
By Dinouk Colombage
Police have failed to properly respond to the alleged assault of Reverend Lasantha Jayalath, Regional Presbyter of Deniyaya, and his wife by a mob led by members of the Buddhist clergy, according to the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL).
On August 9 at 1pm Reverend Jayalath and his wife were returning home after visiting a member of their congregation when they were stopped by a mob of 40 people who were allegedly led by several Buddhist monks.
According to a report released by the NCEASL the mob comprised a member of the Deniyaya Pradeshiya Sabha and several Buddhist monks. The pastor and his wife were assaulted by the mob and questioned as to who gave them permission to live in the area.
They were then taken to the house they had just visited, at which point the mob turned on the lady of the house and her daughter demanding to know how much they were paid to convert to Christianity. The pastor and his wife were finally able to escape the mob and fled to their home.
Reverend Jayalath, who had suffered injuries to his legs and arms, did not want to go to hospital as he feared he would be harmed there. He lodged a police entry the next day.
Roshini Wickramasinghe, attorney-at-law, said that the police had not taken any action over the complaint.
“They told the pastor that an inquiry would be held, but on the day of the inquiry the pastor and his wife were informed that the other party had not turned up and they would have to wait till they did,” she said.
Wickramasinghe added that the Reverend had refused to divulge the identity of one of the assailants, despite knowing who it was, as he feared for his safety.
Reverend Jayalath and his family left Deniyaya shortly after the incident for fear of further attacks. He could not be contacted for further comment.
Reverend Godfrey Yogarajah, General Secretary of the NCEASL, said that he was appalled by such an act and disappointed that no proper action had been taken by the police to ensure justice was served. “This act is just another example of growing religious intolerance on the part of a few in the country. It is the duty of the police to act on such a complaint and ensure the safety of the citizens of the country,” he said.
Police spokesman, SSP Ajith Rohana, said that he was unaware of such an incident.