Sunday, February 02, 2014

7 monks accused of attacking churches get bail

7 monks accused of attacking churches get bailSeven Buddhist monks accused of leading a mob to attack and vandalise two churches, were granted bail by a Sri Lankan court last Monday.

Police had identified 24 people, including eight monks, for the attack on the churches in the southern resort town of Hikkaduwa on January 12.

A magistrate in the southern port town of Galle granted bail to seven monks, while fixing March 17 as the next date of hearing.

On January 16, a court directed police to arrest those involved in the attack, filmed by TV news crews.

A mob of over 250 persons led by Buddhist monks had attacked the Assembly of God Church and the Calvary Free Church in Hikkaduwa. 

The monks alleged that the two churches were unauthorized and demanded that the places be closed down.

Police were at the scene but failed to prevent the assaults. 

Police spokesman Ajith Rohana had admitted to “inaction” because of insufficient numbers.

Sri Lanka has come under pressure from human rights and civil society groups to protect religious minorities as attacks on non-Buddhist religious places increased throughout 2012 and 2013.

Nationalist groups have been accused of attacking scores of Christian and Muslim prayer centres.

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