A group of demonstrators led by monks, stormed two Christian prayer centres near the Hikkaduwa Town yesterday morning, demanding they be shut down. The monks have alleged that the two centres, Assembly of God Church and the Calvary Free Church, on Amarasena Mawatha, which were in operation for 16 years, were unauthorized.
Eyewitness and the police said the monks broke the back doors and stormed the centres while nearly 100 persons, the majority who were female, were praying.
The Assembly of God Church, in a statement, said the Police were ineffective in controlling the mob and the mobs effectively trapped the congregation within the Church buildings.
” Our lawyers are now meeting with the Police. As of now, the immediate situation has been diffused but there is still some tension in the area. Although many of the details are unclear, it is clear that a mob attacked the Churches while they were engaged in religious worship, which is a violation in terms of the Penal Code. The Police were also unable to control the mob.” Hikkaduwa Police OIC, Mandanayake, stated, “There was an incident including an attack, where property, goods and equipment were damaged.”
The Police Media Unit added that, “Stones had been thrown at the two churches and while windows were broken and a window in a cupboard was broken, the roofs were damaged as a result of the forceful impact of heavy rocks and stones. A fence too was damaged. No arrests have yet been made.”