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Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

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Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

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0thei Peiceptions of Thieat anu Insecuiity 74
Response to Attacks 77
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List of Attacks on Binuu Places of Woiship 8u
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Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

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ACBC All Ceylon Buuuhist Congiess

AC}0 All Ceylon }amiyyathul 0lama

A0u Assembly of uou

BBS Bouu Bala Sena

CPA Centie foi Policy Alteinatives

uA uoveinment Agent

BSZ Bigh Secuiity Zone

}B0 }athika Bela 0iumaya

LLRC Lessons Leaint anu Reconciliation Commission

LTTE Libeiation Tigeis of Tamil Eelam

NCEASL National Chiistian Evangelical Alliance Sii Lanka

Nu0 Non-uoveinmental 0iganisations

NPA National Plan of Action to Implement the Recommenuations of LLRC

SLFP Sii Lanka Fieeuom Alliance

SLNC Sii Lanka Nuslim Congiess

TNA Tamil National Alliance

0BA 0iban Bevelopment Authoiity

0NP 0niteu National Paity

0PFA 0niteu People's Fieeuom Alliance

Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

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Following the enu of the thiity-yeai olu civil wai in Sii Lanka, theie weie expectations that
the post-wai peiiou woulu ushei in peace, uevelopment anu ieconciliation. The last thiee
anu a half yeais have witnesseu a seveial positive uevelopments incluuing iesettlement of
people anu iehabilitation of infiastiuctuie. Nonetheless theie aie a iange of pioblems anu
policy gaps that have hinueieu the tiansition fiom wai to sustainable peace. A key post-
wai challenge is that of violence against ieligious sites anu membeis of ieligious
communities. Theie have been a numbei of inciuents incluuing mob attacks on places of
woiship; iobbeiies anu vanualism of ieligious places; the killing of cleigy; piotests against
ieligious communities anu hate speech on the inteinet anu in the meuia. Even while the
post-wai peiiou has alloweu foi ieligious communities to ie-builu places of woiship
uamageu anu uestioyeu in the wai-affecteu aieas anu gieatei fieeuom of movement to
access ieligious sites, these acts of violence have cieateu anu intensifieu insecuiity anu
vulneiability. Almost all iepiesentatives of all ieligions inteivieweu foi this iepoit
expiesseu the feai that theii faith anu ieligious anu ethno-cultuial iuentity is unuei uiiect
anu inuiiect attack.
Theie have been some high piofile cases such as the attack on the Nosque in Bambulla in
Apiil 2u12; othei inciuents, howevei have ieceiveu little oi no meuia attention. This has
iesulteu in a limiteu unueistanuing of the scale anu natuie of these inciuents, anu also
maue it easiei foi the authoiities anu otheis to ueny the scale of the pioblem. The focus of
the iepoit is to iecoiu inciuents of attacks on ieligious places anu uiscuss the bioauei
context of such attacks. Foi the puipose of iuentifying such inciuents the iepoit uefines an
attack on a ieligious place as being physical violence towaius a ieligious place in cuiient
use, such that the builuing is uamageu in some way, items within the builuing aie stolen oi
uamageu, anu¡oi peisons in the ieligious place, injuieu oi killeu. This incluues theft of
ieligious symbols such as statues fiom a place of woiship anu vanualism. A ieligious place
is taken to mean temples, kovils, mosques, chuiches, as well as piayei centies anu shiines
of the foui main ieligions anu theii uenominations that aie being actively useu. The
uefinition is intentionally naiiow so as to iuentify a key inuicatoi which is measuiable so as
to make the uocumentation moie piacticable.
94#++,)0,& "( /I,)"/-;/)0 #""#$%&Q It neeus to be acknowleugeu that attacks on ieligion
occui at multiple levels anu in vaiious foims, anu that which is claimeu as an attack on
ieligion vaiies wiuely anu may have moie to uo with peiceptions iathei than a veiifiable
inciuent oi uevelopment. Foi instance, it is impossible to classify the inciease in population
of anothei ieligious community as an attack on anothei ieligion. The uefinition uoes not
incluue inciuents which uo not leau to uamages oi injuiies in the list. Foi example, piotests
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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outsiue places of ieligious woiship have not been incluueu but have been iefeienceu in the
context section of the chapteis, especially in cases wheie the piotests pieceueu an attackR
Nultiple attacks on a single place of woiship have been counteu as one inciuent anu not
listeu as sepaiate attacks.
The lists of attacks in this iepoit aie not exhaustive. At the outset it neeus to be noteu that
in geneial the uocumentation of attacks on ieligious places, symbols anu peisons is highly
limiteu anu in some cases theie is little oi no coveiage of inuiviuual attacks on paiticulai
gioups, such as the Evangelical chuiches in the meuia. While some ieligious communities
compile lists of inciuents, otheis lack the oiganisational capacity to uo so. The lack of
consistent uocumentation, the lack of infoimation in the public iealm anu the cautiousness
of ieligious anu civil society gioups to engage on this issue weie key obstacles in the
compiling of this iepoit. This iepoit attempts to auuiess this infoimation gap so as to
pioviue a moie compiehensive pictuie of the giounu situation anu theieby iaise public
awaieness anu inciease the unueistanuing of policy makeis on this issue. The iepoit
collates infoimation fiom a vaiiety of scatteieu souices to builu a moie cohesive pictuie of
ieligious violence post-wai. It coveis inciuents fiom Nay 2u
2uu9 to }anuaiy S1
Bowevei, it neeus to be noteu that while the iepoit was being euiteu ovei Febiuaiy 2u1S a
seiies of inciuents weie iepoiteu paiticulaily on Nuslim ieligious places anu also
Evangelical chuiches.
?#30,"& #)I ?3,)I& (- !""#$%&Q Theie aie 6S cases of attacks on places of ieligious
woiship listeu in this iepoit. The iepoit uoes not pioviue a list of attacks uuiing the wai
anu hence it is uifficult to asseit that theie is shaip inciease oi ueciease of attacks in the
post-wai peiiou. Nonetheless it is cleai fiom the list that all ieligious communities aie
facing vaiious foims of violence. The majoiity of these cases aie fiom the Chiistian
community (SS cases) anu mostly against non-tiauitional chuiches. Theie aie 1u cases of
attacks on Buuuhist temples, the same numbei of attacks on Binuu places of woiship anu 9
cases of attacks on Nuslim ieligious places. Biiect attacks have been iepoiteu fiom all
piovinces of Sii Lanka, making cleai that the thieat is not iestiicteu to paiticulai aieas.
Nost of the iepoiteu inciuents weie fiom the Westein piovince (16), followeu by the
Eastein piovince (12), the Southein piovince (11) anu the Noith-Westein piovince (9).
While the numbeis uo pioviue some sense of the scale of the violence, it is impoitant to
make uistinctions in teims of the natuie of violence in each of these inciuents. These
attacks can be categoiizeu into thiee main types: intei-communal attacks, intia-ieligious
violence, anu iobbeiy. Theie aie othei inciuents that fall outsiue these categoiies, incluuing
those ielateu to possible peisonal oi political uisputes, uevelopment activity anu otheis
wheie the motives anu peipetiatois iemain unknown.
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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In teims of intei-communal attacks the vast bulk of inciuents wheie peipetiatois have
been iuentifieu, aie instances of Sinhala Buuuhist attacks on othei ieligious communities'
places of woiship. Sinhala-Buuuhist gioups have been implicateu in seveial cases of
ieligious violence anu intimiuation against minoiity ieligions incluuing thiee mob attacks
on Nuslim places of woiship anu seveial at Chiistian (laigely Evangelical) chuiches. In 18
of the cases listeu allegeu peipetiatois of the attacks incluueu Buuuhist gioups anu in some
cases Buuuhist monks claiming to piotect anu upholu Buuuhism. Theie is at least 1 case of
intei-communal violence involving non-Sinhala communities, which took place in
Batticaloa. While in the majoiity of cases the peipetiatois have not been piosecuteu anu in
a numbei of cases aie uniuentifieu (such as in iobbeiies), in otheis theie aie allegations of
the gioups anu inuiviuuals believeu to be iesponsible.
While a numbei of the inciuents appeai to be isolateu, in a numbei of cases it is eviuent
that the attacks on an inuiviuual ieligious place is sometimes pieceueu by othei foims of
violence, thieats anu intimiuation on a ieligious community in a paiticulai aiea. Foi
instance, the vineyaiu Community Chuich in Kuiunegala has seen seveial attacks between
Naich anu }uly 2uu9, incluuing seiious physical assault on cleigy, anu vanualism of the
chuich. That theie is a volume of such cases anu theie aie othei acts of violence anu
intimiuation, incluuing the hate campaign against Nuslims anu a call to boycott Nuslim
stoies. This suggests that even while some of the actois involveu in the violence may be
local to the aiea, the pattein of the inciuents makes cleai that theie is a wiuei phenomenon
of attacks, paiticulaily concentiateu in the Westein, Southein anu Noith Cential Piovinces.
A significant piopoition of the inciuents at the Buuuhist anu Binuu ieligious places aie
cases of theft anu vanualism. Theie has been a spate of iobbeiies of Buuuhist temples. This
iepoit uocuments at least S such cases. These inciuents aie taking place in a wiuei context
of iobbeiies anu vanualism of Buuuhist aichaeological sites, fiom uistiicts incluuing ualle,
Bambantota, Colombo, uampaha, Polonnaiuwa, Anuiauhapuia anu Kuiunegala. The lack of
piotection foi these sites is a key issue iaiseu by some Buuuhist leaueis. Robbeiies account
foi the majoiity of inciuents of violence against Binuu places of woiship. Theie weie a
numbei of iepoiteu iobbeiies but not all of them coulu be veiifieu. While theie aie 8 cases
listeu of attacks on Binuu temples, theie aie a fuithei 14 cases of theft fiom Binuu kovils
foi which no uates aie available but aie iepoiteu as being post-wai anu which have not
been incluueu in the list. A significant piopoition of these iobbeiies have taken place in the
}affna uistiict, which uespite the heavy militaiy piesence is facing a wave of thefts,
incluuing of the laige ceiemonial woouen figuies of the vahana oi animals associateu with
the inuiviuuals uous.
Theie have also been seveial inciuents of sectaiian violence between uenominations of all
the ieligious communities apait fiom the Binuu community. It is uifficult to fully captuie
the uepth of intia-ieligious violence in Sii Lanka uue to a ieluctance to uiscuss the issue
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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even by affecteu gioups - the moie mainstieam ieligious uenominations uo not necessaiily
iaise such inciuents. At least 6 of the cases listeu heie - S Buuuhist, 2 Nuslim anu 1
Chiistian- appeai to be motivateu by intia-ieligious tensions wheie the piimaiy motive
appeais to be uoctiinal anu iueological uiffeiences as well as the competition foi auheients.
While a numbei of cleigy peisons have faceu violence, this list concentiates on attacks
committeu in places of woiship. Theie weie at least two inciuents of killings of cleigy at a
place of woiship in the peiiou following the wai. In one instance the victims weie two
Buuuhist piiests, while the othei inciuent involveu a Binuu piiest. While it is uifficult to
asceitain the motives of the peipetiatois, the violence is sometimes believeu to be ielateu
to peisonal uisputes anu iobbeiies, anu not necessaiily motivateu by iueological oi
uoctiinal positions. Theie weie also inuiviuual inciuents wheie it appeais the political
positioning of the cleigy in a Buuuhist temple leu to an attack, anu in anothei inciuent the
temple appeais to have been attackeu, on account of the lanu it occupieu being sought aftei
by uevelopeis.
As noteu in the iepoit, in a numbei of cases, complaints have been lougeu against
paiticulai inuiviuuals, while in otheis theie is eviuence anu eye witness accounts of the
peipetiatois as the attacks took place in bioau uay light anu as a iesult of mob attacks. In
some instances gioups, such as the Bouu Bala Sena anu the Sinhala Ravaya have taken
iesponsibility foi some inciuents, foi instance the attacks on the Buuuhist centies in
Bellantaia, Colpetty anu ualle.
Peipetiatois have not been iuentifieu oi aie unknown in
most of the iemaining listeu cases, although theie aie allegations against ceitain gioups oi
peisons. The allegeu peipetiatois iuentifieu in few inciuents incluue politicians, as well as
inuiviuuals who aie linkeu to poweiful political oi othei piominent inuiviuuals.
S"4,3 #$"& (- </(+,)$, #)I "43,#"&Q Theie have been acts of violence anu intimiuation
that have been iepoiteu by ieligious gioups anu the meuia. In auuition to the attacks on
cleigy, theie have been othei inciuents such as the piotests by mobs outsiue places of
woiship that uoes not iesult in uiiect violence but has a significant impact in teims of
incieasing the feais of peisons who want to woiship at these places. This is a pioblem
paiticulaily faceu by Evangelical Chiistians anu Nuslims in specific locations, especially in
the South. Theie have also been cases iepoiteu of violence anu thieats against inuiviuuals
because they follow a paiticulai faith.
Religious anu civil society gioups iaiseu a iange of thieats, some of which weie common to
at least some of the ieligions while otheis weie moie specific oi concentiateu among some
ieligious communities oi iegions. Conveision was a thieat iaiseu by Buuuhist anu Binuu
anu also some Catholic actois. This is in a context wheie theie is a possibility of anti-
conveision legislation being intiouuceu, hence theie aie also conceins among ieligious

See list of attacks on Buuuhist places of woiship on page 69
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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Page K
gioups who aie involveu in pioselytising. Even while theie have been no majoi legislative
changes intiouuceu which uiiectly unueimine ieligious fieeuom, theie aie cleai pioblems
ielating to the inteipietation anu the piactice of the law ielating to ieligious places of
woiship. Some minoiity gioups such as the Evangelicals anu Nuslims iaiseu conceins
ielating to the constiuction of places of ieligious woiship anu the uifficulties with the law,
auministiation anu majoiity community in uoing so. In specific instances existing ieligious
stiuctuies aie unuei thieat.
An issue iaiseu by Nuslim communities has been the incieasing uifficulty in caiiying out
iituals such as animal slaughtei uuiing Eiu. This is an issue also faceu by the Nuneswaian
Kovil visiteu by both Tamils anu Sinhalese wheie actois, incluuing a goveinment ministei
was actively involveu in uemanuing that such iites uo not take place. In iecent weeks the
intense anti-halal campaign calling foi a boycott of halal ceitifieu piouucts anu enu to
ceitification by Sinhala Buuuhist gioups via online meuia, piotests anu posteis has iaiseu
multiple conceins, incluuing the actions of the uoveinment, oi lack theieof in iesolving
such issues. The campaign has hau a polaiizing impact, not just in teims of the boycotting
of halal piouucts, but also of Nuslim owneu shops anu businesses.
The issue of lanu is a significant unueilying pioblem as each gioup is attempting to asseit
its piesence while pioviuing foi the ieligious neeus of its auheients. Inuiviuual ieligious
sites aie being contesteu wheie one ieligion has been able to constiuct a place of woiship
oi ielateu builuings anu otheis iegistei competing claims. Theie have also been conceins
expiesseu, mostly by Buuuhists, of lanu encioachment by othei ieligious gioups on
aichaeological sites anu also of lanu peiceiveu to be 'sacieu' oi foi the use of the majoiity
community. Bence, it is cleai that the thieat to Buuuhism maue out in public statements is
seen in both tempoial anu spatial teims. The wiuei issue of encioachment by othei
ieligions, anu the allegation of thieats to existing ieligious places, is howevei also iaiseu by
othei ieligious communities as well, paiticulaily in the Noith anu East. In geneial this
contestation tenus to be between Buuuhists anu othei ieligions, incluuing in Kanniya,
Tiincomalee wheie Buuuhist anu Binuus aie claiming owneiship thiough placing ieligious
symbols on the site. All ieligious gioups expiesseu shaieu conceins in teims of thieats to
places of ieligious woiship anu shiines uue to uiban uevelopment but in specific instances
theie aie questions as to whethei peimission has been secuieu fiom goveinment actois
anu local authoiities to builu oi expanu such stiuctuies.
The issue of post-wai ieligious fieeuom in the Noith uiffeis in many iespects fiom the iest
of the countiy anu is linkeu to continueu militaiisation anu allegations of Sinhalisation in
these aieas. Although the uefinition of attacks useu in this iepoit uoes not covei continuing
militaiy occupation, the iepoit uoes attempt to pioviue a numbei of such cases wheie
chuiches, kovils anu mosques aie cuiiently occupieu in }affna, Nannai Nullaitivu anu
Killinochchi in the Noith, anu also in the East, specifically in Tiincomalee. Fuitheimoie, the
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spate of constiuction of Buuuhist stupas anu statues especially in the Noith has also iaiseu
conceins among the Tamil anu Nuslim communities who question as foi whom these
stiuctuies have been constiucteu. Theie aie allegations that some of these stiuctuies have
been built on the Binuu places of woiship oi in close pioximity to such places. Bence, theie
is a stiong peiception that the State anu Sinhala actois aie attempting to asseit theii
contiol thiough multiple means incluuing thiough ieligious symbols. In this sense the
thieat is seen moie as an attempt to unueimine Tamil cultuial anu political iuentity anu
less in teims of a challenge to Binuuism.
T,#+/)0 U/"4 "4, $4#++,)0,Q While violence motivateu by ieligion is not a uniquely post-
wai expeiience, the natuie anu coveiage of the inciuents in vaiious paits of the countiy
iaises conceins about the state of ieligious fieeuom anu peace. That theie aie a spate of
attacks anu in some specific instances, iepeateu acts of uiiect anu inuiiect violence anu
intimiuation iaises seiious questions of whethei these aie meiely isolateu inciuents, oi a
systematic taigeting of ieligious iuentity. What is cleai is that theie is a cultuie of
insecuiity anu a woiiying tienu of violence against ieligious fieeuoms. The attacks on
ieligious places also iaise seiious questions about the iule of law at national anu local level,
as well the iationale foi the high levels of militaiisation in aieas of the Noith such as }affna.
Theie aie also feais that this violence will only intensify intei-communal tensions, which
coulu in combination with othei types of violence anu intimiuation iesult in a 'new conflict'
with the possibility of laige-scale violence. The impact on the inuiviuual communities also
neeu to be taken note of, incluuing theii iight to piactice theii faith as guaianteeu by the Sii
Lankan Constitution anu theii secuiity to live in theii communities.
While the souices of these thieats vaiy, an impoitant anu iecuiiing factoi in uiiect intei-
ieligious attacks against minoiity places of woiship stems fiom the asseition of a Sinhala-
Buuuhist national iuentity aftei the wai, leu by some ieligious anu nationalist gioups. With
the uefeat of the LTTE in the wai, it appeais that the main taiget is appaiently the Nuslim
population anu the last few months have seen a iise in a hate campaign against Nuslims. It
also neeus to be noteu that Evangelical Chiistian gioups anu non-Theiavaua Buuuhist
gioups have also been taigeteu in the post-wai peiiou. Bence this cuiient wave of anti-
Nuslim attacks is pait of a wiuei pattein of violence. Theie aie also incieasing conceins
that the seiies of inciuents anu the oveiall campaign of hate have cieateu a uangeious
context, wheie theie is a veiy ieal possibility of moie violence oi even a iiot.
In oiuei to piotect the iights of all ieligious communities anu to amelioiate oi iesolve
tensions between ieligious communities, as a pait of the laigei post-wai peace
consoliuation effoits, it is impeiative foi the uoveinment, political anu civil society actois,
anu society at laige to ensuie that these inciuents aie taken note of anu the wiuei
phenomenon of the cultuie of violence, intimiuation anu intoleiance is auuiesseu. Conciete
steps neeu to be taken to ueal with attacks, but also to iesponu to bioauei conceins of
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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ieligious co-existence. As such they neeu to be uealt with at both local anu national levels. A
cleai anu compiehensive uocumentation of inciuents is impoitant, both to make suie that
theie is gieatei unueistanuing of the scale of the pioblem anu to iuentify the bioauei
contouis of the pioblem as the inciuents aie often localiseu in natuie, but when lookeu at
togethei foim a wiuei pattein of violence anu intimiuation, fosteiing feai anu insecuiity.
The piimaiy iesponsibility lies with the uoveinment to pioviue a cleai signal that ieligious
violence will not be toleiateu anu that ieligious fieeuoms will be guaianteeu unuei the iule
of law. In this iegaiu, it is impoitant that the uoveinment take into consiueiation the
iecommenuations maue by the Lessons Leaint anu Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) on
piomoting ieligious haimony in consultation with intei-faith gioups, as well as incieaseu
consultation in cases of uispute. Theie aie seiious questions as to whethei anu to what
extent the uoveinment is implementing the LLRC Final Repoit, especially given the seiious
limitations of the National Plan of Action to Implement the Recommenuations of the LLRC
(NPA). uiven the issues on the giounu anu the context of the wai, it is cleai that the
uoveinment neeus to go beyonu the iecommenuations of the LLRC anu engage in a seiious
policy uialogue anu follow up action.
State actois who play a ciucial iole in piotecting the iule of law, incluuing the police neeu
to play a moie active iole, paiticulaily at the local level, both in teims of pieventing
violence anu investigations in the wake of attacks. While police anu juuicial action has
vaiieu in cases, theie is a geneial peiception that theie is a cultuie of toleiance foi 'stieet
justice', anu a mistiust of police anu even the juuiciaiy to upholu the iights of those
affecteu. This is compounueu by a lack of aiiests uespite public eviuence of attacks anu
gioups openly taking iesponsibility foi the same. Pieventing violence oi obtaining ieuiess
has in multiple cases been ieuuceu to the peisonalities in play iathei than iecouise to the
law. Theie has also been no unifieu iesponse in woiu anu ueeu by the uoveinment
conuemning ieligious violence, which has helpeu fostei an enviionment wheie ieligious
intoleiance is toleiateu, even accepteu.
The iole of ieligious leaueis neeus to be ievieweu, as some leaueis have been implicateu in
cases of ieligious violence, as well as the iole of ieligious authoiities especially in the case
of intia-ieligious violence. Bowevei, theie is a cleai space foi ieligious leaueis to take
gieatei iesponsibility in fosteiing intei-ieligious unueistanuing. The geneial emphasis by
mainstieam ieligious anu minoiity political leaueis has been on uialogue anu negotiation
with the uoveinment, with vaiying levels of effectiveness. Some politicians anu civil society
gioups have attempteu to negotiate with the gioups believeu to be behinu the attack. Theie
have been isolateu public voices iaiseu in piotest incluuing at an inuiviuual level, at specific
inciuents of attacks, while theie aie many inciuents that ieceive little oi no attention in the
meuia. Bowevei, the collective iesponse in all of these foims has not hau the uesiieu effect
of pieventing oi ieuucing violence against ieligious places anu people oi contiolling othei
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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foims of intimiuation anu thieat foi that community. Continuing acts of violence against
places of ieligious woiship coupleu with a cultuie of intoleiance aie thieatening to
unueimine effoits to consoliuate peace, emphasising the neeu foi immeuiate action.

Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

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Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

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The enu of thiee uecaues of wai in Sii Lanka in Nay 2uu9 following the uefeat of the
Libeiation Tigeis of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) biought with it expectations of not just an enu to
laige-scale violence anu a iestoiation of noimalcy, but also hopes of long-teim peace,
stability anu uevelopment. While theie have been significant uevelopments anu
oppoitunities in a vaiiety of aieas to consoliuate the post-wai situation, incluuing mass
iesettlement anu the iehabilitation of macio infiastiuctuie, almost foui yeais aftei the enu
of the wai Sii Lanka faces a numbei of funuamental challenges anu policy gaps in making
the tiansition fiom post wai to post conflict.
A key issue that has been iaiseu in teims of post-wai nation builuing is the iole of ieligion,
both in its ability to fostei coexistence but also its potential to uiviue. Theie is fiequent
iefeience to the spiiit of toleiance anu coexistence between the vaiious faiths piesent in
Sii Lanka anu the multi-faith natuie of the islanu is well-iecogniseu anu celebiateu.
Nonetheless, ieligion has also pioveu a uivisive factoi uuiing the conflict. Religion anu
ethnicity in Sii Lanka have histoiically been useu to uefine iuentity among uiffeient
communities, anu have also been closely linkeu to iueas of Sii Lanka's national iuentity.
Fiom Biitish colonial times to inuepenuence anu aftei, ieligion has been uiawn into the
politics of ethno-nationalism anu state making. Even while it is uifficult to aigue that theie
have been tensions anu conflicts that aie puiely ieligious in natuie, ieligion has been both
a symbolic tiiggei of conflict as well as a tool to mobilise people aiounu othei economic oi
social conceins. The post-wai peiiou has been no uiffeient.
The post-wai peiiou has seen a wave of inciuents of thieats, intimiuation anu violence
taigeting ieligious symbols, places of woiship anu cleigy. The Bambulla Nosque Attack of
Apiil 2u12, the attacks on Evangelical chuiches, the killing of Buuuhist Nonks, the seiies of
temple iobbeiies in }affna, hate campaigns against Nuslims all highlight an unueicuiient of
violence anu insecuiity. uiven the consiueiable volume of cases of attacks on ieligious
places anu actois, it is necessaiy to look at the inciuents anu tienus insteau of assuming
that they aie just pait of a geneial tienu of violence. While violence taigeting ieligious
places anu peisons is not new to the post-wai peiiou, the natuie anu continuing spieau of
the inciuents in vaiious paits of the countiy iaises conceins in teims of ieligious fieeuoms,
peace anu the iule of law. That theie aie a spate of attacks anu in some specific instances,
iepeateu acts of uiiect anu inuiiect violence, has iaiseu seiious conceins that these aie not
all isolateu inciuents but, instances of systematic taigeting baseu on ieligious iuentity. At
the veiy least it suggests a cultuie of insecuiity anu a woiiying tienu of the use of violence
to auuiess uisputes that may be iueological anu uoctiinal in natuie but also be tieu to othei
issues incluuing ovei lanu oi peisonal pioblems between inuiviuuals anu institutions.
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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Actois fiom all ieligions have conveyeu theii peiceptions of being besiegeu by thieats to
theii ieligious iuentity anu piactice, peiceiveu oi otheiwise. While theie is a neeu to
examine the inuiviuual inciuents anu sepaiate tienus in teims of these inciuents, it is
uifficult to ueny the giowing feai of incieaseu levels of violence oi even the potential foi a
'new conflict' aiounu ieligious iuentities. Auuiessing the issue of ieligious tensions anu
violence is cential to builuing a new post-wai Sii Lanka. It is in this spiiit that this iepoit is

*135(&, #)I :3#D,U(3% (- "4, .,5(3"
This iepoit is piimaiily an attempt to iuentify inciuents of attacks on places of ieligious
woiship. It examines these inciuents within the bioauei context of challenges anu citeu
thieats faceu by ieligious gioups in Sii Lanka. It also seeks to unueistanu tienus that aiise
fiom specific cases anu uiscussions with peisons inteivieweu foi this iepoit. The attempt
to unueistanu issues of ieligious violence post-wai neeus to be seen within an oveiall
fiamewoik in which Buuuhism has the foiemost place in the Constitution, although Sii
Lanka has constitutional anu legal guaiantees piotecting ieligious fieeuoms, anu a ceitain
uegiee of flexibility in uefining ieligion anu ieligious places unuei law. 0nueistanuing the
conceins of each ieligious community, anu the natuie of these attacks, is a key step to
engagement on iueas of ieligious toleiance anu equality. This in tuin can contiibute to a
laigei uialogue on the iole of ieligion in shaping Sii Lanka's national iuentity post-wai.
This iepoit follows fiom anu builus on the woik that the Centie foi Policy Alteinatives
(CPA) has uone on issues of ieligious fieeuom. In the wake of the violence anu tension
aiounu the case of the Bambulla Nosque in Apiil 2u12, CPA hosteu a woikshop "Religious
Toleiance anu Relateu Lanu Issues," on Apiil Su
2u12 to auuiess the issue of violence
faceu by ieligious gioups anu places anu piouuceu a papei titleu '!"#$% '($)"*+(,
-+."(/0/# 1%$2"3 +4 5"%0#0+63 7+(3809 0/ :(0 !$/,$;. CPA was also involveu in auvocacy
woik on the pioposeu anti-conveision legislation.
A key challenge that came up in the
uiscussion was the lack of uocumentation on these cases. While some at the woikshop
weie able to piesent specific cases, it was appaient that theie is a neeu foi ieligious actois
anu civil society at laige to uocument such cases so that they coulu be biought to the
attention of the uoveinment. The iepiesentative fiom uoveinment also iaiseu the neeu foi
uocumentation of such cases.

CPA was one the petitioneis involveu in challenging the "Piohibition of Foicible Conveision Bill" in 2uu4 (See foi the Petition anu
wiitten submissions fileu by CPA http:¡¡www.lankalibeity.com¡legal¡inuex.html).

The uiscussion was helu unuei Chatham Bouse Rules.
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

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As to what is peiceiveu to be an attack on a ieligion oi ieligious place in a post-wai context
can bioauly be categoiiseu into two gioups: fiistly, uiiect attacks anu seconuly the inuiiect
peiception of attacks. The fiist categoiy can bioauly incluue thieats, violence against
ieligious cleigy, violence against stiuctuies anu symbols associateu with ieligions oi
iestiiction of access to places of woiship, piotests anu hate speech. The iepoit highlights
some of these foims of violence.
The seconu ielates to uevelopments anu peiceptions of thieats which aie not necessaiily
violent in natuie but aie seen as a souice of insecuiity by membeis of a ieligious
community. Foi example, the constiuction of a ieligious symbol 'close' to the place of
woiship of anothei ieligion may be inteipieteu as being injuiious oi intimiuating; feais
that a ieligious symbol such as a cioss, a Bo tiee, oi even a ieligious school woulu
eventually expanu into a place of woiship, affecting the pieuominant local ieligious
community has been iaiseu in a numbei of aieas, incluuing in the Noith anu East, but also
in the South. These feais have leu to ieligious exclusivity in some aieas anu feais of
encioachment by one ieligious gioup into the tiauitional aieas of anothei. Some of the
uiiect anu inuiiect attacks aie also linkeu to issues of iecognition anu contiol of ieligious
gioups ovei matteis of theii own faith. Foi example, the uifficulties some gioups have in
iegisteiing new places of woiship, militaiy intiusion into piayei anu memoiial seivices in
some paits of the countiy, the iemoval oi ielocation of ieligious symbols without
consultation of the community involveu.
While theie aie a vaiiety of aspects that neeu to be lookeu at in oiuei to assess cuiient
challenges ielating to ieligious fieeuoms, this iepoit focuses on one of these uimensions -
violence against places of ieligious woiship. Bowevei it uoes uocument cases of othei
uiiect foims of violence anu iepoits on peiceptions anu allegations of inuiiect violence. It
neeus to be noteu theie is no legal uefinition in Sii Lanka foi ieligious places. Within each
ieligion anu between gioups in each faith, the natuie of what constitutes a ieligious place
uoes vaiy. Foi the puiposes of this iepoit, a ieligious place is taken to mean temples,
kovils, mosques, chuiches, as well as piayei centies anu shiines of the foui main ieligions:
Buuuhism, Binuuism, Islam anu Chiistianity, incluuing theii sects anu uenominations,
which aie being actively useu. Bence, aieas which aie ueemeu sacieu but on which theie is
no ieligious builuing cuiiently in use have not been incluueu. Such cases anu allegations of
cases ielating to such locations have been uesciibeu in the context section of each chaptei.
Foi the puipose of this iepoit, what constitutes an attack has been uefineu naiiowly: as
physical violence towaius a ieligious place, such that the builuing oi items within the
builuing aie uamageu in some way anu¡oi peisons in the ieligious place aie injuieu oi
killeu. This incluues theft of ieligious symbols such as statues fiom a place of woiship, anu
vanualism. This uefinition has been limiteu so to make the inuicatoi piacticable. This uoes
not mean that othei foims of violence against ieligious symbols anu communities aie any
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page GP
less seiious anu the iepoit uoes piofile some of these inciuents in oiuei to asceitain the
context anu natuie of attacks against ieligious places. This iepoit uoes also iecognise that
peiceptions of attack aie an integial pait of the context of ieligious violence, anu this has
been uiscusseu in some uetail in the context section of the chaptei coveiing each ieligion.
Inciuents of attack fiom Nay 2u
2uu9 to }anuaiy S1
2u1S have been coveieu in this
The infoimation foi this iepoit was obtaineu fiom both piimaiy anu seconuaiy souices.
Inteiviews weie conuucteu with cleigy, ieligious gioups anu institutions, goveinment
officials fiom the ieligious anu aichaeological uepaitments, politicians anu inuiviuuals, civil
society oiganisations, Nu0s, acioss all foui main ieligions in Sii Lanka: Buuuhism,
Binuuism, Islam anu Chiistianity, incluuing intia-ieligious uenominations wheie possible.
The majoiity of inteiviews weie conuucteu between August anu Novembei 2u12. In
auuition to phone inteiviews with iesponuents in the uistiicts, peison-to-peison
inteiviews weie also conuucteu in Colombo, Anuiauhapuia, Kanuy, Batticaloa, Killinochchi,
vavuniya, }affna anu Nannai. Fielu visits weie unueitaken to follow up on cases anu
focuseu significantly on aieas wheie theie appeaieu to be limiteu infoimation. These
inteiviews togethei with available liteiatuie anu meuia coveiage of attacks weie useu to
uiscuss context, iuentify inciuents of anu tienus in attacks.
In this way, the iepoit has attempteu to uiaw togethei scatteieu souices of infoimation to
tiy anu builu a moie cohesive pictuie of post-wai ieligious violence. Bue to the vast
numbei anu multiple types of inciuents anu complaints iepoiteu, as well as the shoit time
fiame of the iepoit, it was not possible to veiify each case thiough fielu visits. Bowevei,
multiple souices incluuing iecoius of police iepoits fileu have been useu as fai as possible
to veiify attacks anu cases listeu in this iepoit. Those inciuents wheie auequate uetails
weie not available have not been incluueu as a specific case. Bowevei iefeience to the
allegations of such cases have been incluueu in oiuei to illustiate the type of thieats iaiseu
by inteiviewees so as to unueistanu the context in which this violence is taking place.
Theie weie some challenges in conuucting this stuuy. The main challenge was the seiious
lack of uocumentation of cases anu wheie it uiu exist, wiue vaiiations in foimal iecoiu-
keeping of inciuents. veiy few ieligious gioups anu oiganisations maintaineu meticulous
uetails of intei-ieligious anu intia-ieligious attacks fiom acioss the countiy. Foi instance,
Chiistian gioups of laigely non-tiauitional uenominations hau the most uetaileu iecoius of
attacks. Theie weie consiueiably fewei uetails of inciuents available fiom the Binuu,
Buuuhist anu Nuslim oiganisations. This iesulteu in a neeu to piece togethei inciuents
fiom multiple souices. Theie was also an appaient ieluctance to maintain iecoius of intia-
ieligious¡sectaiian violenceV which was voiceu uuiing inteiviews by the main
iepiesentatives of each faith, as opposeu to the sects oi gioups conceineu. The ieasons
given have iangeu fiom: intei-ieligious violence being a moie significant thieat to a tacit
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

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acceptance of violence by mainstieam uivisions against uenominations consiueieu
unoithouox, iauical oi even heietical. Some of the taigeteu gioups themselves weie
unwilling to pioviue infoimation, feaiing that theii piofile will be iaiseu anu the level of
violence anu intimiuation against them may inciease. Theiefoie, in some instances apait
fiom few high piofile inciuents of sectaiian violence, some cases have not been incluueu
heie uue to inauequate uetails anu veiification. In ceitain instances, cases weie citeu in
inteiviews anu weie also iefeienceu in the meuia. Wheie the accuiacy of these cases was
challengeu by peisons woiking in those aieas anu by those inteivieweu by CPA, the cases
weie not incluueu.
A fuithei challenge was opposition by some ieligious oiganisations to paiticipating in this
stuuy. Effoits weie maue to contact intia-ieligious uenominations but some gioups weie
ieluctant to uiscuss cases of conflict when inteivieweu anu even when cases weie
piesenteu to them by the inteivieweiV they weie ieluctant to go into any uetails. 0theis
who piomiseu list of inciuents oi inuiviuual cases faileu to uo so uespite iepeateu attempts
to contact them. A few inuiviuuals anu oiganisations iefuseu outiight oi inuicateu an
unwillingness to paiticipate in the stuuy, while some even voiceu hostility to such a stuuy
being unueitaken anu a suspicion iegaiuing motives.
The majoiity of people inteivieweu
foi this iepoit uiu not want theii names mentioneu. uiven the sensitive natuie of this
iepoit, the names of all people inteivieweu have been omitteu. Wheie uiiect quotations
have been useu, the souice iefeis to type of ieligious anu oiganisational affiliation of the
peison who was inteivieweu.
Theiefoie, the inciuents anu cases listeu heie aie not exhaustive but this iepoit pioviues a
basic listing of key casesV which highlight the neeu to auuiess this issue both holistically
anu on a case-by-case basis. A note of caution in iefeiiing to the list in this iepoit is that it
may be a ieflection of only some of the cases that have taken place in the post-wai peiiou,
so at the veiy least it offeis a staiting point to uevelop a moie compiehensive list. It also
uoes pioviue a sense of oveiall tienus in this peiiou anu highlights the inciuents wheie
ieuiess is iequiieu both in teims of the inuiviuual case anu systemically. Bowevei, without
a complete list of attacks foi each ieligion coveieu in this stuuy, it is uifficult to make
ielative claims as to whethei theie has been an inciease in inciuents uuiing the post-wai
peiiou as opposeu to uuiing the yeais of the wai. As noteu eailiei, theie is a cleai neeu foi
fuithei substantive uocumentation by the ieligious authoiities, uoveinment anu civil
society actois.

The view expiesseu by few inuiviuuals anu oiganisations contacteu foi this iepoit was that ieligious attacks post-wai was a 'non-issue'
anu that it woulu simply piovoke a situation of conflict. Some inuiviuuals contacteu cautioneu the CPA in caiiying out this stuuy "when
eveiything (the wai) is settleu anu people aie living peacefully." Ceitain inuiviuuals iepiesenting piominent ieligious oiganisations
iefuseu to coopeiate anu pioviue infoimation to CPA on the iepoit.
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page GK
J#$%03(1)I #)I 9()",C"

Sii Lanka is a multi-ieligious, multi-ethnic countiy, with foui of the woilu's majoi ieligions
iepiesenteu: Buuuhism, Binuuism, Islam anu Chiistianity. While all ieligions aie piotecteu
by the Constitution anu law, foiemost place is given to Buuuhism. Religion anu ethnicity
aie closely inteitwineu: a majoiity of Buuuhists aie Sinhalese, most Binuus aie Tamils
while Nuslims constitute a sepaiate ethnic categoiy. Chiistians cut acioss most ethnic
gioups yet tenu to be pieuominantly Sinhalese anu Tamil. Theie is a also a small Buighei
anu Euiasian population. It neeus to be noteu, howevei that intei-maiiiage between
membeis of these iacial anu ieligious constiucts anu self iuentification as being multi-
ethnic anu multi-ieligious is not uncommon. Foi instance, in the Noithein Piovince, theie
aie Tamil Buuuhists, Nuslims who aie Binuus in teims of theii piofesseu ieligious,
Sinhalese who follow Islam, among othei ethnic anu ieligious categoiies enumeiateu in the
2u11 census.

73/ 8#)%#W& .,+/0/(1& T,D(03#54;
Accoiuing to Sii Lanka's 2u11 census, Buuuhists constitute 7u.2% of the population,
Binuus 12.6%, Nuslims 9.7%, anu Chiistians 7.4% of a total population of 2u.2 million.

Theie is consiueiable uemogiaphic uistiibution anu vaiiation of these ieligious
communities acioss the countiy. While each of the ieligions has a majoiity population in
specific uistiicts, theie aie pockets of all ieligious communities uispeiseu acioss the
Buuuhists: Buuuhists foim a majoiity of the population in 16 of Sii Lanka's 2S uistiicts
ianging between 7u.7% in Colombo to 96.8% in Bambantota. Nost of the 14,222,844
Buuuhists aie Sinhalese, although theie is histoiical iefeience to Tamil Buuuhists in the
countiy anu theie aie at least 44S enumeiateu in the Noithein Piovince in the 2u11
Nost Buuuhists piactice the oithouox Theiavaua foim of the ieligion. uiven the
ueep histoiical ties between Buuuhism anu the islanu, Sii Lanka is often uesciibeu by
Buuuhist cleigy anu auheients as being the piotectoi of Theiavaua Buuuhism. Theie aie

Theie weie 429 Sii Lankan Tamils who iuentifieu themselves as Buuuhists, 6Su peisons who iuentifieu themselves ethnically as
Nuslims who piacticeu Binuuism anu 64 Sinhalese who stateu theii ieligion was Islam in the Noithein Piovince (Bepaitment of Census
anu Statistics, Enumeiation of vital Events 2u11, Noithein Piovince, Sii Lanka

This incluues uata fiom seven auuitional uistiicts in the Noith anu East to which access was pieviously iestiicteu uuiing the 2uu1
census. (<"9$(=)"/= +4 >"/363 $/? :=$=03=023 @ 1+96%$=0+/ AB ("%0#0+/ $22+(?0/# =+ ?03=(02=3C DEFD

<"9$(=)"/= +4 >"/363 $/? :=$=03=023C G/6)"($=0+/ +4 H0=$% G."/=3 DEFF, I+(=8"(/ 1(+.0/2"C :(0 !$/,$
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page =L
Buuuhist ieligious anu aichaeological sites thioughout the countiy, incluuing in the Noith
wheie the minoiity Buuuhist civilian population in the piovince is much ieuuceu uue to the
Binuus: Binuus foim the laigest minoiity in Sii Lanka with a population of 2,SS4,6u6. They
aie the majoiity community in six uistiicts, ianging fiom S1.1% in Nuwaia Eliya to 82.9%
in }affna. Nost Binuus aie eithei Sii Lankan Tamil oi Tamils of Inuian 0iigin (0pcountiy
Tamils). The Sii Lankan Tamils foim a majoiity in the Noithein anu Eastein Piovinces,
which have been iefeiieu to as the Tamil homelanu, while theie aie significant populations
in othei paits of the countiy as well. This Tamil community has long-stanuing histoiical
ioots in the islanu. The Tamils of Inuian oiigin aie concentiateu in the hill countiy uistiicts,
foiming a majoiity (SS.2%) in the Nuwaia Eliya Bistiict.
They weie fiist biought to Sii
Lanka as inuentuieu laboui by the Biitish to woik on the plantations in the hill countiy, but
this laigely impoveiisheu community has migiateu to othei paits of the countiy incluuing
the Wanni.
Nuslims: Islam is the most populous faith in the uistiicts of Ampaia (4S.6%) anu
Tiincomalee (42.1%), which togethei account foi a Nuslim population of 441,997. Two
thiius of the 1,967,227 total Nuslim population live in the South of the countiy,
concentiateu in uiban centies, while in the Noith anu East, they also populate moie iuial
aieas. Bue to expulsion by the LTTE in 199u the Noithein Nuslim population is cuiiently a
fiaction of its oiiginal numbei.
While some Nuslims claim Aiab ancestiy the ethnic histoiy
of the community is moie complex. Nuslims weie able to establish a sepaiate ethno-
ieligious iuentity anu the majoiity of auheients of Islam in contempoiaiy Sii Lanka woulu
call themselves Nuslim in teims of theii ethnic iuentity. Theie is also a small ethnic Nalay
community who aie often counteu among Nuslims. Nost Nuslims aie fiom the Sunni sect,
while a small minoiity is Shiite Nuslims, incluuing Boiahs. Within mainstieam Sunni Islam
theie aie vaiiations in inteipietation anu piactice, with oithouox gioups such as the
Tawheeu }amaat on one siue of the ieligious spectium anu the Taiiqah gioups iepiesenting
Sufi movements on the othei. Sii Lanka also has a small Ahmauiya community, a sect
consiueieu to be heietical by some Nuslims.
Chiistians: Chiistianity is the majoiity ieligion in the Nannai uistiict (S2.7% oi S2,2Su
people) while in othei uistiicts they aie a ieligious minoiity. Chiistians in Sii Lanka aie
maue up of thiee main gioups: Roman Catholics who account foi about 8u% (1,2S7,uS8) of
Chiistians, while the iemaining 272,S68 Chiistians aie Piotestant Chiistian gioups

The uisciepancy between the Binuu anu Tamil populations in Nuwaia Eliya ieflects the fact that some Tamils aie also Chiistian.
(Bepaitment of Census anu Statistics:

Accoiuing to the 1981 census theie weie S4,2S4 Nuslims in the Noithein Piovince, but following the expulsion of the entiie population
by the LTTE in 0ctobei 199u, almost all weie foiceu out of the Noith. 0vei subsequent yeais some communities have ietuineu but
accoiuing to the 2u11 census, they numbei S4,u4u, which is 62% of the 1981 population.
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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(incluuing Anglicans anu Nethouists), anu non-tiauitional oi Evangelical Chiistian gioups
that began to emeige in the 197u's. Chiistians aie concentiateu in uiban anu coastal aieas
acioss the countiy, anu aie laigely fiom the Sinhala anu Tamil communities.

.,+/0/(1& *+13#+/&D #)I 9()-+/$"
Sii Lanka has at vaiious times poitiayeu itself as maintaining inclusive ethno-ieligious
pluialism. Theie has been a geneial climate of toleiance anu co-existence, such as in the
case of local communities wheie people of uiffeient ieligions anu ethnicities have
histoiically cohabiteu. Syncietism is also a featuie of ieligious piactice in Sii Lanka, as iites
anu iituals thought to be uistinct to oi associateu with one faith aie also piacticeu anu
veneiateu by othei ieligious communities. Biffeient ieligions foi instance shaie ueities anu
places of woiship. Boly sites like Kataiagama, house Buuuhist, Binuu anu Nuslim places of
woiship, while othei sites like Auam's Peak, aie fiequenteu uue to theii ieputation as a
place of uivinity anu not simply uue to theii impoitance to an inuiviuual faith. Respect foi
all ieligions is often piesenteu as a key Sii Lankan value. Bowevei, an asseition of exclusive
ieligious anu¡oi othei iuentities has leu to tensions, conflicts anu sectaiian violence on a
local anu national level.
The inteisection between ieligion anu violence in Sii Lanka in the mouein eia can be
linkeu to the asseition of ethno-ieligious iuentities ovei time. These iuentities have been
influenceu by economic, social anu political changes that have taken place uuiing the
colonial anu post-inuepenuent peiious. Religion was useu as a means to asseit iuentities
anu challenge the colonial poweis in the pie-inuepenuence peiiou, iesulting in a ieligious
ievival acioss all main faiths. It has continueu to be useu as a foice to mobilize populai
suppoit anu to ieinfoice iuentities.

Religion has been at the foiefiont of specific episoues of violence ovei the last centuiy,
although ieligion itself may not always have been the uiiect cause of conflict. Religion is
sometimes useu as a iallying call to mobilise people beyonu iegional anu social bounuaiies
anu localiseu conceinsX ieligious issues can seive as a tiiggei foi inciuents of violence anu
tension; ieligious symbols aie taigeteu in uiiect anu stiuctuial violence. Foi example, one
of the eailiest communal iiots was between Sinhalese anu Noois in 191S. The iiot left
shops anu houses looteu, mosques uamageu anu seveial people ueau. The iiot was
tiiggeieu by tensions ovei ieligious paiaues anu woiship but was also a consequence of
socio-economic iivaliies, uivisive communal politics anu the emeigence of Buuuhist
ievivalism coupleu with Sinhalese nationalism, which playeu into an emeiging political
ihetoiic that Sii Lanka was a Buuuhist lanu anu non-Buuuhists weie outsiueis¡foieigneis.

}.B. Rogeis, :+20$% J+A0%0=BC 1+96%$( K?"+%+#BC $/? >+%%"2=0." H0+%"/2" 0/ J+?"(/ :(0 !$/,$,The }ouinal of Asian Stuuies, vol. 46, No. S,
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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As post-inuepenuence Sii Lanka giappleu with nation anu state builuing, ieligion was useu
by anu became a key component of competing ethno-nationalisms. Religion became an
integial pait of post-inuepenuence politics: ieligious symbols aie useu in political ihetoiic
anu ieligious actois have become involveu in politics anu even ieligious political paities
have emeigeu, most notably the }athika Bela 0iumaya (}B0).
Even as the post-
inuepenuence state has attempteu to piotect the iight of ieligious fieeuom of all ieligions,
the veiy iole of the state in teims of ieligion has been a site of contestation. In paiticulai
the emeigence of political Buuuhism, linkeu in pait to Sii Lanka's national iuentity being
poitiayeu as a Sinhala-Buuuhist nation, has meant that the state's claim to be completely
seculai anu faii by all ieligions in the countiy is challengeu. This tension is veiy eviuent in
the Constitution as theie is no official state ieligion but Buuuhism is given a foiemost place.
The gieatei emphasis on Buuuhism anu Sinhalese being maue the official language
intensifieu the ethno-political conflict in the post-inuepenuence peiiou. The 19S6 election
saw a coalition leu by the Sii Lanka Fieeuom Paity (SLFP) unuei S.W.R.B. Banuaianaika
come to powei campaigning on a Sinhala Buuuhist nationalist platfoim uniting Buuuhist
cleigy, tiauitional physicians, teacheis, faimeis anu labouieis of the Sinhalese society
known as Pancha Naha Balawegaya (five gieat political foices). The platfoim of the Pancha
Naha Balawegaya calleu foi Buuuhist supiemacy in the countiy anu foi the social
emancipation of the Sinhalese to which the goveinment iesponueu by intiouucing the
Sinhala 0nly Act in 19S6 which tiiggeieu communal iiots between the Sinhalese anu

Religious ievivalism has taken place acioss all ieligions ovei time. While incieaseu
ieligiosity has meant an upsuige in ieligious activity, it has also intensifieu ieligious
intoleiance within anu between ieligious communities. Biffeient ieligious communities
also appeai to auopt a majoiitaiian minu-set towaius othei minoiities in aieas wheie the
foimei uominate, seeing the 'othei' as a thieat to theii national, iegional oi local
hegemony. Foi example this is ieflecteu in the antipathy of some nationalist Buuuhist
gioups towaius minoiities, hostility between oithouox Nuslims anu othei Islamic sects in
the South anu East, tensions between Roman Catholic gioups anu Binuus anu Nuslims in
Nannai, oi hostility between some mainstieam Chiistian gioups anu newei non-
tiauitional chuiches. In some cases, intei anu intia-ieligious tensions have iesulteu in
thieats, intimiuation, anu violence against cleigy anu places of woiship.
The wai wageu between the uoveinment of Sii Lanka anu Tamil militant gioups,
paiticulaily the LTTE, fiom 198S to 2uu9 has hau a uiamatic impact on ieligious
coexistence anu secuiity of places of woiship. As a iesult of the fighting anu violence,
ieligious places in the Noith anu East anu the iest of the countiy have been uamageu, some

The }athika Bela 0iumaya was cieateu in 2uu4 anu put foiwaiu a list of canuiuates foi the Apiil 2uu4 pailiamentaiy election
composeu entiiely of Buuuhist monks.
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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seveiely, although a veiifiable estimate of all ieligious places uamageu¡uestioyeu is not
publicly available. Bespite the piohibition in customaiy inteinational humanitaiian law on
the taigeting of ieligious peisonal anu objects,
the wai saw a uiiect taigeting of ieligious
places as soft, high-impact taigets, incluuing the attack on the Sii Naha Bouiya in
Anuiauhapuia killing 146 Buuuhists on Nay 14
198S by the LTTE.
The State has been
accuseu of attacks on ieligious places thiough the inuisciiminate use of aeiial
bombaiument, such as on the Chuich of St. Petei anu St. Paul in Navaly, }affna in 199S,
which killeu ovei 1uu civilians.
Bespite ieligious places being iecogniseu as places of
iefuge within Sii Lanka, the wai has seen violence in anu against ieligious places. The
Shiine of 0ui Lauy of Nauhu, Nannai gaineu a ieputation foi being a safety zone uuiing the
wai, yet this space was iepeateuly violateu thiough acts of violence anu intimiuation,
incluuing uuiing the last phase of the wai when the LTTE foiceu all the civilians theie to
move out piioi to the intensification of fighting anu a chuich builuing was uamageu by
aitilleiy in Apiil 2uu8.
Religious places have been the sites of inuiviuual killings incluuing
uuiing miunight mass on Chiistmas Eve 2uuS when Nembei of Pailiament }oseph
Paiaiajasingham was assassinateu at St Naiy's Catheuial, Batticaloa
anu massacies
incluuing the killing of 147 Nuslim men in mosques in Katankuuy on August S

These violations of ieligious fieeuoms also incieaseu the sense that ieligious symbols anu
places weie not accoiueu uue piotection anu weie even taigeteu by aimeu gioups.
Religious peisonnel have not been safe fiom the violence. In auuition to the massacie of SS
Buuuhist monks in Aianthalawa on }uly 2
1987, a numbei of othei membeis of the cleigy
have been killeu oi have uisappeaieu, incluuing Fathei Thiiuchchelvam Nihal '}im Biown'

}ean-Naiie Benckaeits anu Louise Boswalu-Beck (eus), Inteinational Committee of the Reu Cioss ; >63=+)$(B K/="(/$=0+/$%
L6)$/0=$(0$/ !$*M H+%6)" KK 9$(= NFO, Cambiiuge univeisity piess 2uuS, pp 497 - Su7, available at

0thei high piofile attacks on Buuuhist sites incluueu the attack on Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kanuy on }anuaiy 2S
1998 anu
caiiieu out by the LTTE, which iesult in the ueaths of 16 people. ('Sii Lanka Tamil teiioi,' Time Nagazine, 27 Nay 198S:
http:¡¡www.time.com¡time¡magazine¡aiticle¡u,9171,9S7uS6,uu.html; 'Eleven uie in Sii Lankan temple suiciue bomb,' BBC News, 2S
}anuaiy 1998: http:¡¡news.bbc.co.uk¡2¡hi¡SuS66.stm;)

0thei such attacks incluue those on the Thuikkai Amman Temple in Tellipalai, }affna in 1992 anu the St. }ames Chuich, }affna in 199S.
('The Nilitaiy opeiation in the Noith anu the iesulting unueicuiients,' 0niveisity Teacheis foi Buman Rights (}affna) Sii Lanka, 199S,
Infoimation Bulletin No.7: http:¡¡www.uthi.oig¡bulletins¡bul7.htm; Buman Rights Watch, 199S:

B.B.S. }eyiaj, '0ui Lauy of Nauhu joins fellowship of inteinally uisplaceu', Tianscuiients, Apiil S 2uu8; Amantha Peieia, 'Bow the
viigin Naiy suiviveu Sii Lanka's wai', Time Nagazine,17 August 2uu9

0n }anuaiy 1
2uu8 Nembei of Pailiament, T. Naheswaian was shot ueau at the Kotahena Sivan Kovil in Colombo. Both attacks weie
allegeu to have been caiiieu out by aimeu actois believeu to be linkeu to the State. ('}oseph Paiaiajasingham NP Killeu - moie uetails
unfolu,' Asian Tiibune, 2S Becembei 2u12; 'Piesiuent expiesses shock anu giief ovei assassination of NP Naheswaian,' Ninistiy of
Befence anu 0iban Bevelopment, uefence.lk, u1 }anuaiy 2uu8.)

0n August 11
199u 1u4 Nuslims weie killeu in Eiavui, incluuing at the mosque by the LTTE. ('The Kattankuuy mosque massacie in
Sii Lanka, 22 yeais aftei,' uiounuviews, 6 August 2u12,
yeais-aftei¡; N.I.N Nohiueen, 'LTTE atiocities against Noith East Nuslims,' Sunuay 0bseivei, 17 Naich 2u12.)

Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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who was uisappeaieu fiom Alaipiuuy, }affna on August 2u
Religious symbols also
became a souice of contention, such as when a Buuuha Statue was constiucteu in the
Tiincomalee Naiket on Nay 1S
2uu6, which leu to an inciease in tensions, haithals anu
couit cases.
The Buuuha statute itself was placeu off limits anu suiiounueu by baibeu
wiie foi a numbei of yeais. As a iesult of secuiity iestiictions by vaiious aimeu actois,
incluuing the establishment of Bigh Secuiity Zones (BSZ) in the Noith anu East by the
militaiy meant that civilians effectively lost access to tiauitional places of woiship.

Fathei Fiancis }oseph was uisappeaieu aftei iepoiteuly suiienueiing to the militaiy in Nay 2uu9; " Aianthalawa massacie,"
Lankanewspapeis, 17 Septembei 2u11, http:¡¡www.lankanewspapeis.com¡news¡2u11¡9¡7u8u4_space.html; B.B.S. }eyaiaj, 'Claymoie
Kills "Kili Fathei" N.X. Kaiunaiatnam at Ambaikulam,' Tianscuiients, 22 Apiil 2uu8; B.B.S. }eyaiaj, 'Tamil Catholics Peituibeu ovei
Nissing Piiest', The Sunuay Leauei S Septembei 2uu6.

B.B.S }eyiaj, 'The Buuuha statue anu Tamil Soliuaiity in Tiincomalee,' Tianscuiients, 8 Apiil, 2uu6:
http:¡¡tianscuiients.com¡tamiliana¡aichives¡128; Somini Sengupta, 'Sii Lankan city miieu in ethnic violence,' New Yoik Times, 1S Nay
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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.,+/0/(1& ?,)&/()& *(&"62#3

The uefeat of the LTTE anu the enu of the wai in Nay 2uu9 iaiseu wiuespieau expectations
not just of an enu to laige-scale violence but also long-teim peace anu ieconciliation. A
situation of no wai has pioviueu the space foi piocesses of iehabilitation, ieconstiuction
anu uevelopment to move aheau, especially in aieas uevastateu by the wai. Theie has been
a significant impiovement in the fieeuom of movement anu a lifting of iestiictions on
places pieviously inaccessible, incluuing places of woiship in the Noith anu East. Religious
places aie also being built oi iebuilt, sometimes with full oi paitial assistance by the
Bowevei, funuamental issues ielating to the ethnic conflict, incluuing the political solution,
tiansitional justice, militaiisation, human iights, language iights anu basic living conuitions
in wai-affecteu aieas, iemain uniesolveu anu iequiie uigent attention some thiee anu a
half yeais aftei the wai. Even while the uoveinment insists it is implementing a seiies of
measuies to auuiess these issues on the giounu anu in teims of policy, incluuing thiough
the Lessons Leaint anu Reconciliation Commission (LLRC),
some funuamental pioblems
iemain. Foi instance, the lack of a mechanism foi families of the missing to tiace whethei
theii family membeis aie in state custouy oi not, the continuation of some of the key
human iights violations in the post-wai context, incluuing killings anu abuuctions, albeit at
a maikeuly lowei fiequency, all uiaw attention to the neeu foi multiple measuies to
stiengthen the iule of law anu ieveise the cultuie of impunity.
94#++,)0,& "( #II3,&&/)0 5,#$, #)I 3,$()$/+/#"/()Q The limiteu piogiess in
implementing the LLRC is symptomatic of the challenges to auuiessing post-wai pioblems
in the cuiient political context. The LLRC, which was appointeu by the uoveinment to look
at causes foi the outbieak of the wai anu ways foiwaiu, maue seveial obseivations
iegaiuing pioblems ielating to ieligious fieeuom anu toleiance anu some
iecommenuations to help cieate an enviionment of ieligious toleiance.
While the piocess
anu final iepoit of the LLRC both have seiious gaps anu flaws, the iepoit uiu put foiwaiu
some ciitical anu useful iecommenuations. The iecommenuation calling foi the
establishment of intei-faith gioups to piomote ieligious haimony anu unueistanuing, anu
to act as an eaily waining system to pievent communal oi ieligious tension fiom flaiing up
into violence aie seen as impoitant measuies to maintaining anu stiengthening ieligious

The LLRC was a Commission of Inquiiy appointeu by Piesiuent Nahinua Rajapaksa in Nay 2u1u to investigate the ieasons behinu the
failuie of the 2uu2 ceasefiie agieement with the LTTE, anu the auministiative, legislative anu institutional measuies to piomote national
unity anu ieconciliation among all communities. The iepoit of the LLRC was tableu in Pailiament in Becembei 2u11.

Among the specific iecommenuations was the iemoval of iestiictions on places of woiship incluuing those in Bigh Secuiity Zones,
implementing laws ueteiiing hate speech, anu allowing community anu ieligious leaueis the fieeuom to oiganise peaceful events anu
meetings without iestiictions.

Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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While theie was confusion ovei the uoveinment's official position on anu
commitment to implementing the LLRC iecommenuations,
in miu-2u12 it uiu piesent a
National Plan of Action to Implement the Recommenuations of the LLRC. 0nly a few of
iecommenuations have been selecteu anu the pioposeu measuies uo not necessaiily match
up to the iecommenuations maue in the LLRC's Final Repoit. Foi instance, the pioposals
foi intei-faith gioups anu eaily waining systems have been uioppeu fiom the pioposeu
actions. Insteau the Action Plan pioposes stiengthening the Civil Befence Committees
(CBC) anu community policing.
The uoveinment has seemingly little inteiest in setting up
pieventive mechanisms foi auuiessing pioblems on the giounu, as the CBCs aie moie tools
foi monitoiing anti-goveinment uissent than tools foi meuiating intia anu intei-
community uisputes which was a key iole playeu by othei mechanisms such as citizens
The uoveinment's appioach to a numbei of pioblems paiticulaily ielating to human iights
anu ieconciliation has been to set up committees anu commissions without necessaiily
taking action to auuiess the pioblems oi even to implement the finuings of these
As a iesult of an intensification in the hate campaign against Nuslim in eaily
2u1S, actois within the uoveinment pioposeu a numbei of possible mechanisms incluuing
a Pailiamentaiy Select Committee anu a cabinet subcommittee,
but it was not cleai as to
what the status of these mechanisms aie, theieby auuing to the confusion as to how oi even
whethei the uoveinment will take meaningful action.
Even while the uoveinment aigues that it is taking positive steps towaius auuiessing peace
anu ieconciliation, on the giounu the situation is moie complicateu anu pioblems peisist.
The issue of militaiisation is one such issue. Even while the militaiy piesence, which is
pieuominantly Sinhalese, has ieuuceu in aieas of the East anu to a lessei extent the Noith,
they continue to play a uominant iole, incluuing in civilian affaiis. The militaiy anu
uoveinment have ieleaseu lanus anu pioviueu access to some ieligious places that
continue to be in aieas that aie iestiicteu. The militaiy has also attempteu to play a iole in
sensitising visitois fiom the South. Bowevei, the militaiy continues to occupy lanu,
pieventing the ietuin of at least 26,uuu peisons to theii homes
anu has a heavy piesence

5"9+(= +4 =8" !"33+/3 !"$(/= $/? 5"2+/20%0$=0+/ >+))0330+/, 2u11.

Bhavani Fonseka, Luwie uaneshathasan anu Niiak Raheem, "Commentaiy on the National Plan of Action to Implement the
Recommenuations of the Lessons Leaint anu Reconciliation Commission," Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u12.
CPA, A List of Commissions anu Committees Appointeu by the uoveinments of Sii Lanka (2uu6-2u12), Naich 12 2u12

Kelum Banuaia, "Binesh only wanteu sub-committee," Baily Niiioi, Febiuaiy 16 2u1S, page 1

:(0 !$/,$M P 80??"/ ?039%$2")"/= 2(0303, IBNC, S1 0ctobei 2u12.

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in the Noith.
Even while the militaiy has been involveu in assisting inuiviuual
communities ie-constiuct theii places of woiship, as uocumenteu in this iepoit, it
continues to iestiict oi pievent access to inuiviuual kovils, chuiches anu mosques in }affna,
Nannai, Killinochchi, Nullaitivu anu Tiincomalee. In auuition, it continues to closely
monitoi anu iegulate civilian activity anu it appeais that in ceitain spheies the militaiy has
an augmenteu iole in post-wai Sii Lanka. The attempts by the militaiy to thwait ieligious
seivices in Binuu anu Chiistian places of woiship in the Noith on specific uays such as the
enu of the wai commemoiation oi the LTTE's J$.""($ Bay, iaises multiple conceins
incluuing the lack space foi iemembeiing those who have been killeu uuiing the wai oi
who aie missing. In the Noith anu East, iestiictions on woiship have iaiseu questions on
the continueu piesence anu iole of the militaiy in a post-wai situation. As one inteiviewee
pointeu out "They aie secuiity foices. Why uo they have to be involveu in ieligious affaiis.
What is theii business in these things."
Theie aie also conceins that the militaiy is
involveu in constiucting places of Buuuhist ieligious woiship in the noith anu east, which
is vieweu with suspicion especially in instances wheie the sites aie contesteu.

As such, theie aie seiious conceins ielating to the uoveinment's commitment anu political
will to auuiessing funuamental issues ielating to peace anu ieconciliation. In paiticulai
theie has been no substantive piogiess in achieving a political solution. Theie aie cleai
inuications that the uoveinment is attempting to eat away at the existing fiamewoik foi a
political solution enshiineu in the Constitution - the uoveinment has pioposeu a numbei of
bills that take away poweis gianteu to the Piovincial Councils unuei the Thiiteenth
Theie aie othei issues which aie pait of the stiuctuial anu systemic
challenges facing Sii Lanka beyonu the ethnic conflict, incluuing those ielateu to the iule of
law, goou goveinance anu inclusive anu sustainable uevelopment, that aie integial anu
mutually ieinfoicing to achieve a stable peace. The iecent impeachment of the Chief }ustice
Shiianie Banuaianaike in }anuaiy 2u1S only seiveu to highlight the laigei issue of the
politicisation of state institutions, which aie meant to seive as checks anu balances against
abuse by the executive.
At a policy level, uespite pioposals foi two legislative changes by political actois, incluuing
a bill on anti-conveision, the uoveinment has not intiouuceu any new ?" Q6(" measuies
that impinge on ieligious fieeuoms oi ieligious piactices uuiing this peiiou. Neveitheless,
theie appeai to be a numbei of ?" 4$2=+ huiules, incluuing in the auministiation of iules

Economic anu Political Weekly, "Notes on the Nilitaiy Piesence in Sii Lanka's Noithein Piovince," volume XLvII No. 28, }uly 14 2u12

Inteiview with a Binuu ieligious leauei in }affna in 0ctobei 2u12

Notice was obtaineu by CPA in 0ctobei 2u12 while on fieluwoik in the Noith, titleu 'Kinu notice to touiists visiting the Noithein
Piovince (Tianslation fiom Sinhala)' (no uate given on notice).

Foi instance key poweis ielating to finance weie taken back by the Cential uoveinment unuei the Bivinguma Bill. Theie aie also
iepoits that the uoveinment may pass a constitutional amenument to the Thiiteenth Amenument to take ieuuce the poweis of the
Piovincial Councils
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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Page =N
goveining the constiuction of places of ieligious woiship (see annex). Some ieligions
communities, paiticulaily Nuslims anu Evangelical, aie finuing it incieasingly uifficult to
secuie foimal appioval fiom local authoiities anu goveinment bouies. Cuiiently, each of
the foui main ieligions has a sepaiate uepaitment all of which aie unuei the cential
Ninistiy of Buuuha Sasana anu Religious Affaiis. While theie weie some inteiviewees who
felt that the lack of powei of ieligious uepaitments is a seiious pioblem, most inteiviewees
pointeu to the challenge poseu by the powei uynamics within the uoveinment. That the
uoveinment has suggesteu a committee compiising the heaus of the foui uepaitments to
monitoi the implementation of a new ciiculai on the constiuction of ieligious places may
not theiefoie, auuiess the conceins of ieligious communities.

Even though the cuiient goveining alliance is a iainbow coalition of political paities,
incluuing most of the minoiity political paities anu the Sinhala nationalist gioups, anu
minoiity communities have a numbei of ministeis in the cabinet, theie is an incieaseu level
of vulneiability of these gioups, paiticulaily in ielation to the accumulation anu
consoliuation of powei in the piesiuency. Coalition paitneis, iaiely if evei, challenge the
piesiuent on issues of cential concein to them. The lack of a stiong opposition coupleu
with the weakness of civil society has meant that the uoveinment has significant powei
anu the ability to act as it wishes.
Even while theie is a neeu foi a vaiiety of actois to be a pait of the piocess to ensuie a
lasting peace, the iole of the uoveinment, both at the cential anu local levels, anu
goveinment policy in cieating an inclusive enviionment foi peace-builuing anu
ieconciliation between communities is pivotal. 0nfoitunately it has been calleu into
question time anu again as attesteu to by the limiteu space foi uissent in the countiy anu its
tight contiol thiough multiple means. The viitual collapse of almost all the opposition
paities, uue to the uoveinment's machinations anu theii own inteinal weaknesses has
meant that theie is limiteu space foi issues to be publicly uebateu anu challengeu. Even
while the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) iemains a uominant foice in the Noith anu East
anu othei minoiity paities commanu electoial powei, in ieal teims most of these othei
paities aie extiemely vulneiable anu minoiity political iepiesentation as a whole is in a
much weakei position than six yeais ago. Feai anu the lack of fieeuom foi the meuia anu
civil society actois in the post-wai context also mean that theie aie limiteu outlets foi the
public to voice theii positions, iaising the spectie of anothei outbieak of intensifieu
.,&130,)$, (- 7/)4#+# J1II4/&DQ The post-wai peiiou has seen a stiuggle ovei the veiy
iuentity of the State 6 as to whethei Sinhala Buuuhist inteiests shoulu be given piimacy
ovei the multicultuial anu pluial iuentity of Sii Lanka. Bistoiically, Sii Lanka has seen

See Annex, Page 97
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page =K
peiious of iesuigence in political Buuuhism, most often coupleu with Sinhala nationalism.
Foi instance in the leau up to the 19S6 geneial election anu moie iecently in 2uu4-2uuS
following the ueath of Buuuhist piiest veneiable uangouawila Soma Theio.
The militaiy
victoiy in Nay 2uu9, is peiceiveu as not meiely the uefeat of a militant teiioiist gioup by
the State, but also the iouting of Tamil nationalism. Foi some it is also a victoiy foi
This iesuigence is not meiely a phenomenon that is pointeu out by minoiities
alone but has also been noteu by Buuuhist gioups:
T7" #"/60/"%B A"%0"." *" $(" =8" 9(+="2=+(3 +4 U6??803)V W8"(" 03 %+#02 0/ 0=V 7" 8$."
A""/ 9($2=020/# U6??803) 4+( =8" 9$3= DXEE B"$(3 *0=8+6= $ A("$,V I+ +=8"( ("%0#0+/
8$3 =803 ("2+(?V W8" N*$(O .02=+(B 03 0/="(9("="? AB =8" #"/"($% 96A%02 $3 $ .02=+(B 4+(
U6??803)V Y/" 0/="(9("=$=0+/ 03 =8$= *" N:(0 !$/,$O 3$4"#6$(?"? U6??803) $3 $
803=+(02$% ?6=BV :"2+/?%BC U6??803=3 4+6/? =8$= =8" !WWG *$3 $ 3=(+/# $/=0ZU6??803=
)+.")"/=C 3+ =8"0( ?"4"$= 2$/ "$30%B A" 3""/ $3 $ .02=+(B 4+( U6??803)VT
This 'ievival' is being felt both in the uominance of Sinhala nationalism in goveinment
policy but also at a society level. Bence, some Sinhala Buuuhist leaueis commenteu that
this iesuigence has iesulteu in minoiities being moie caieful.

The constiuction of Buuuhist temples, statues anu shiines foi Bo tiees in the Noith anu
East, incluuing in aieas wheie theie aie no oi tiny Buuuhist civilian communities is an
issue iepeateuly iaiseu by minoiities in those aieas. Fiom this peispective these
constiuctions aie seen not simply as ieligious symbols but also amount to a 'iitual
stamping' anu uemonstiation of the powei of the Sinhala Buuuhist nationalism ie-asseiting
its contiol. The uiiect involvement oi assistance of state actois, especially the militaiy, in
these constiuctions is also citeu, iaising histoiical conceins of 'Sinhalisation'. Theie aie
also claims of Buuuhist temples anu symbols being constiucteu on lanu aujacent to oi on
the sites of uestioyeu Binuu places of woiship, iaising concein that state actois anu otheis
aie engaging in piactices that intensify feais among the Tamil community that theie is a
post-wai assault on Tamil cultuial anu ieligious symbols. Simultaneously, the uoveinment
has assisteu the ieconstiuction of places of woiship of othei ieligions.

These gioups claimeu that the ueath of Soma Theio took place uue to a conspiiacy leu by anti-Buuuhist gioups, uespite the autopsy
inuicating a ueath uue to natuial causes.

Inteiview with a politician of the }B0, Septembei 2u12

"'6/?$)"/=$%03=3 N4(+) +=8"( 2+))6/0=0"3O $(" 38+2,"? AB =8" U6??803= (".0.$% 0/ =8" 2+6/=(B $4="( =8" *$(V U6??803=3 $(" .0#0%$/= $A+6=
*8$= 03 8$99"/0/# /+*VVVVV W803 03 $ =")9+($(B 3"=A$2, 4+( >8(03=0$/3V >+/."(30+/3 3=0%% =$," 9%$2" A6= 0= 03 /+= ."(B .030A%" =8"3" ?$B3V I+* =8"B
N>8(03=0$/3O $(" ."(B =$2=46% $A+6= =8" *$B =8"B ?+ 0=[T (Inteiview with a politician fiom the }B0, Septembei 2u12)

The bulk of funuing ieconstiuction foi kovilshas been thiough the temple tiustees anu uonois fiom within the Tamil community.The
uoveinment, thiough the Bepaitment of Binuu Religious anu Cultuial Affaiis has contiibuteu towaius some iebuiluing¡ienovation of
kovils acioss the countiy. Assistance is baseu on iequests by piivate owneis anu tiustees of temples, anu following appioval by the
ielevant Ninistei oi Ninistiy Secietaiy.

Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page >L
In iecent months the anti-Nuslim campaign has intensifieu, both online anu on the giounu.
This campaign has manifesteu in multiple foims, ianging fiom calls to boycott Nuslim
companies anu halal piouucts, to piotests outsiue Nuslim owneu ietail outlets anu the
Banglaueshi Embassy to piotest against violence in Bangaluesh against Buuuhists.
these have attiacteu significant numbeis of peisons, incluuing in subuiban Colombo, is an
inuication of the extent to which these sentiments iesonate with sections of the majoiity
Sinhala community. The call foi an economic boycott baseu on ethnic association has
multiple iepeicussions incluuing the uehumanization of a section of Sii Lankan society anu
the cieation of ueep social cleavages anu economic unceitainty, not just among the affecteu
businesses but in teims of the wiuei maiket economy. The statement by 0uaya uamanpilla
that "As someone who has stuuieu the Sinhala - Nuslim clashes in 191S, I stiongly feel a
iepetition of that uisastei is imminent"
gave public expiession to an incieasing feai that
especially in a context of a possible economic uowntuin theie coulu be seiious
iepeicussions foi the Nuslims as the ethno-ieligious caiu may be useu to incite violence foi
political anu economic gain.
The post-wai intoleiance anu violence is by not focuseu on the Nuslims alone. Feais ovei
the peiceiveu thieat to Buuuhism fiom pioselytising anu conveision aie wiuespieau anu
have founu expiession in violence against Evangelical Chiistian places of woiship anu
suppoit foi an anti-conveision law. Even if anxieties ovei conveision by Evangelical
Chiistian anu Nuslim gioups have been peiceiveu by othei ieligious communities as a
pioblem, it has neveitheless not manifesteu itself in a seiies of violent ieactions as in the
case of Sinhala-Buuuhist elements especially in the south of the countiy.
A uominant feai is that ultia Sinhala Buuuhist nationalism iemains a potent foice both
within the uoveinment anu outsiue it in the post-wai context anu has not spent itself in the
wai. In pievious uecaues theie have been Buuuhist oiganisations attempting to mobilize
the polity anu society, some of which iemain active incluuing the National Bhikku Fiont
anu the }B0. The }B0 is a coalition membei but the Sinhala Buuuhist focus is also believeu
to be uiiven by otheis incluuing fiom within the SLFP, uespite its multi-ethnic cieuentials.
The post-wai peiiou has seen ielatively new actois take a uominant position incluuing the

Recoius of financial assistance to Binuu Temples, Bepaitment of Binuu Religious anu Cultuial Affaiis: assistance is geneially cappeu at
Rs.1uu,uuu to Rs. 2uu,uuu pei kovil, but this vaiies. In 2uu9 the Bepaitment iepoiteu assistance to 8 Binuu temples in the Noith-East,
284 temples in 2u1u, anu S2S temples in 2u11. In uistiicts othei than the Noith anu East, the Bepaitment iepoiteu assistance to 6
temples in 2uu9, SS temples in 2u1u anu 2Su in 2u11.(Bauulla, Colombo, Bambantota, Kalutaia); 2u1u (Kalutaia, Kanuy, Kegalle,
Noneiagala, Ratnapuia; 2u11 (Bauulla, Colombo, Kalutaia, Kanuy, Kegalle, Kuiunegala, Natale, Nataia, Noneiagala, NuwaiaEliya,
Polannaiuwa, Puttalam, Ratnapuia).

'Bouu Bala Sena piotest,' Baily Niiioi online, 2S 0ctobei 2u12, http:¡¡www.uailymiiioi.lk¡caption-stoiy¡22961-bouu-bala-sena-
piotest.html ; 'Piotest against attacks on B'uesh Buuuhist shiines,' Bouu Bala Sena 0fficial Website,0ctobei 2u12,
http:¡¡bouubalasena.oig¡english¡piotest-touay-against-attacks-in-buesh-on-buuuhist-shiines¡#moie-2Su ; Bhaiisha Bastians, 'Bouu
Bala Sena anti-Balal agitation to begin in Nahaiagama tomoiiow,' Financial Times, 16 Febiuaiy 2u1S,

0uaya uamanpilla, "Avoiuing a Repeat of What Bappeneu a Bunuieu Yeais Ago," Ceylon Touay, 2u }anuaiy 2u12
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page >G
Bouu Bala Sena
leu by ven. ualagouaatte unanaseaia anu ven. Kiiama vimalajothi anu
the Sinhala Ravaya leu by ven. Akmeeman Bayaiathana have claimeu a significant public
space uemanuing that action be taken against the "extiemism" of the Nuslim anu Chiistian
communities in paiticulai. Even though these gioups may be small in numbei anu have
veiy limiteu impact in electoial teims, they have occupieu a significant public space anu
have significant influence as they aie effectively able to foice the hanu of the moie
mainstieam Sinhala Buuuhist leaueiship who uo not want to be seen as in effectual in
piotesting these same inteiests. That the }B0 took up the Bouu Bala Sena's call to boycott
hallal piouucts iathei belateuly uemonstiates the ability of these seemingly fiinge gioups
to impact othei moie influential political actois. These gioups have also useu new meuia
anu social netwoiks effectively to uisseminate hate speech, anu have founu significant
space in the mainstieam meuia to mobilise suppoit anu oiganise its activities.
It is incieasingly cleai that while at a societal level theie aie giowing signs of polaiization
anu a campaign of peisecution, the lack of action on the pait of the uoveinment to take
action is a seiious issue. While the uoveinment anu the Piesiuent have appealeu foi
gieatei toleiance it has stoppeu shoit of conuemning the hate campaign. The uoveinment's
appaient unwillingness to iein in iauical Sinhala-Buuuhist elements--geneially believeu to
be behinu attacks on minoiity places of woiship anu calling foi boycott of halal piouucts--is
vieweu, in piagmatic teims, as the unwillingness on the pait of the uoveinment to
challenge anu theieby iisk alienating its coie constituency anu, in noimative teims, as
ieflecting the iegime's tacit enuoisement of the bioau conceins of these gioups. That
Piesiuent Nahinua Rajapaksa met the Bouu Bala Sena in }anuaiy 2u1S
to ueal with the
intensifieu campaign against Nuslims pioveu to be a masteiful stioke. 0n the one hanu the
public meeting was piesenteu anu seen by some as an effoit by the Piesiuent to ueal with
the pioblem of a giowing hate campaign against Nuslims, even while it was not a
categoiical uemanu fiom the Piesiuent to the Bouu Bala Sena to stop theii actions. In
contiast, in a meeting with theologians iesponsible foi conuucting Fiiuay }umma piayeis
the Piesiuent hau iepoiteuly auviseu them to be caieful in the use of woius, having heaiu
them pieaching the Nuslims to uefenu themselves.
uiven the uoveinment's systematic
appioach in uealing with gioups opposeu to it, the veiy fact that the Bouu Bala Sena is able
to continue its activities anu expanu its piesence suggest that at the veiy least the
uoveinment is tacitly peimitting its opeiations.

Foi moie infoimation iefei to theii official website http:¡¡bouubalasena.oig¡english¡

'Sii Lanka asks Buuuhist monks not to stii hatieu,' (AFP) 27 }anuaiy 2u1S

Buuuhika Sii Aiavinua, 'Beath Thieats To Nuslims - Sii Lanka,' Sunuay Leauei, 17 Febiuaiy 2u1S,
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page >=
It appeais that the Bouu Bala Sena is becoming incieasingly poweiful anu confiuent in its
position, anu has expanueu its piesence in vaiious paits of the countiyR Following the
meeting with the Piesiuent, the Bouu Bala Sena claimeu that othei gioups aie caiiying out
actions using theii name, even as they ieleaseu a piess statement ielating to new taigets
such as the call to ially at the Kuiagala Site,
which the gioup claims is being taken ovei by
Nuslims. The piotest was calleu off following a meeting with the authoiities aftei a
uecisions was taken to iemove the unauthoiiseu constiuctions.
That the gioup is
attempting to take on iepiesentation of the Sinhala Buuuhist community anu is being given
that space by othei Sinhalese-Buuuhist gioups anu the authoiities is of significant concein.
It neeus to be noteu that the lack of substantive action by the uoveinment to auuiess
minoiity conceins is a key post-wai challenge. The uoveinment seems to be following a
uual policy of on the one hanu maintaining a ihetoiical line of equality foi all citizens anu of
the neeu to auuiess the pioblems of the wai, while on the othei is pioving incieasingly
ieluctant to make even the most basic political concessions oi to even iecognise the
collective iights of minoiity gioups. At his victoiy speech in Nay 2uu9 the Piesiuent
iemaikeu "We have iemoveu the woiu minoiities fiom oui vocabulaiy thiee yeais ago. No
longei aie the Tamils, Nuslims, Buigheis, Nalays anu any otheis minoiities,"
claiifying as to how the majoiity's position woulu be tiansfoimeu. In the post-wai context
minoiity iights aie incieasingly being inteipieteu as moie an effoit at ensuiing equality foi
all citizens anu iecognition of specific cultuial iights of these gioups, while othei gioup
uemanus such as uevolution of powei to ethnic communities aie now openly challengeu.
Bemanus foi collective political iights oi uevolution aie equateu with being uivisive oi
sepaiatist. Almost foui yeais latei the Piesiuent has ueclaieu that "When the people live
togethei in unity theie aie no iacial oi ieligious uiffeiences. Theiefoie, it is not piactical foi
this countiy to be uiviueu baseu on ethnicity. The solution is to live togethei in this countiy
with equal iights foi all communities."
It is in this context that the uebate ovei whethei
the national anthem can be sung in Tamil in the Noith anu othei Tamil speaking aieas is
taking place.
H)$3,#&,I 3,+/0/(&/"; #)I 3,+/0/(1& 3#I/$#+/&DY Within Sii Lankan society theie appeais
to be a stiengthening of sepaiate ieligious iuentities but also giowing conceins of ieligious
funuamentalism. A suivey caiiieu out by the Asia Founuation in 2u11 shows that the

Telephone inteiview with an official fiom the Bepaitment of Aichaeology in Febiuaiy 2u1S.

Be fuithei noteu: "Theie aie only two peoples in this countiy. 0ne is the people that love this countiy. The othei compiises the small
gioups that have no love foi the lanu of theii biith.,." (Auuiess by Piesiuent Nahinua Rajapaksa at the ceiemonial opening of Pailiament,
Sii }ayawaiuhanapuia - Kotte, Nay 19, 2uu9, 0fficial website of the piesiuent of Sii Lanka).

Auuiess by Piesiuent Nahinua Rajapaksa, 6S
Inuepenuence anniveisaiy celebiations, Tiincomalee, Febiuaiy 4 2u1S, official
goveinment website)
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page >>
majoiity of Sii Lankans see theii society as becoming moie ieligious touay than five yeais
ago, with highei auheience to oithouox ieligious piactices. Buuuhists anu Nuslims
iepoiteuly peiceive highei ieligiosity among theii communities ielative to self-peiception
of Binuus anu Catholics.
The same suivey inuicates that people aie incieasingly woiiieu
by extiemist ieligious views anu violence.

Theie aie a numbei of ievivalist elements active within all the ieligious communities in Sii
Lanka touay. Noieovei, theie aie also claims that theie foieign actois opeiating in Sii
Lanka incluuing Wahabi gioups fiom the Niuule East, Evangelicals fiom the 0S anu
elsewheie, anu the vishwa Binuu Paiishau (vBP) fiom Inuia. It is impoitant to stiess that
ieligious ievivalism anu intei-sectaiian competition anu tension is almost always a iesult
of vaiious sects anu ieligious movements vying foi contiol anu incieasing theii numbeis by
winning ovei auheients to theii paiticulai inteipietation of faith oi uoctiine is a neai-
univeisal phenomenon seen in many ieligious communities acioss the woilu. Some of
these actois pioselytise moie effectively anu¡oi have access to iesouices that stiengthen
theii ability to ieach anu win ovei auheients not only fiom theii own but also othei
ieligious communities, intensifying the appiehensions of the lattei ovei the eiosion of theii
own congiegation.
In post-wai Sii Lanka too this finus ieflection in inciuents of intia-ieligious violence within
Buuuhist, Nuslim anu Chiistian communities. Tensions within ieligious communities
contiibute to heightening sectaiian anu ieligious intoleiance, iesistance to ieligious
syncietism anu uistances between ieligious communities. Inaction by the mainstieam oi
failuie of so-calleu moueiate elements within the uiffeient ieligious communities to
piotest the actions of iauical elements is an issue not just within the Sinhala-Buuuhist
community. At piesent Nuslims anu Evangelical Chiistians face a paiticulaily uistinct anu
seiious challenge, especially given the political configuiations in the post-wai context - the
ievivalist anu iauical nationalist elements within the Sinhala-Buuuhist community who aie
at the foiefiont of mobilising anu uemanuing action against ieligious minoiities they
consiuei a thieat. Auuiessing this challenge uemanus both a uecisive shift in policy anu
suppoit foi a laigei social tiansfoimation to ensuie gieatei toleiance, inclusivity anu

National values Suivey 2u11, The Asia Founuation: "Bespite noting few inciuents of violence in theii aiea anu that most acts of
violence aie eithei ciiminal oi political in natuie, S1% of Sii Lankans feel that theii countiy is vulneiable to violence stemming fiom
extiemist ieligious views."

ibiu., p.7-"Nationally, appioximately two out of eveiy thiee Sii Lankans believe that people aie moie ieligious touay than they weie
five yeais ago. By a significant maigin, moie Buuuhists (7u%) than othei ieligious gioups inuicate that people aie 'much moie
ieligious'. Nuslims fall seconu behinu Buuuhists in peiceiving an inciease in ieligiosity with ovei half (SS%) claiming that people have
become much moie ieligious. Binuus show the lowest level of peiceiveu inciease in ieligiosity with S9% saying they aie much moie
ieligious, while Catholics falls in the miuule with 44% much moie ieligious."

Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page >A
!""#$%& #0#/)&" 943/&"/#) *+#$,& (- 2(3&4/5

Peiceptions of ieligious fieeuom vaiy among Chiistian cleigy anu gioups woiking on the
iights of the Chiistian community in the post-wai peiiou. Some acknowleuge positive
impiovements in the post-wai peiiou, such as the builuing anu iebuiluing of chuiches anu
impioveu access to places of woiship in the Noith anu East. 0theis have pointeu to a
continuation oi even a spike in the tienu of uiiect thieats anu attacks against Chiistian
cleigy, inuiviuuals anu places of woiship aftei the wai. The post-wai peiiou has seen a
wave of attacks against Chiistian places of woiship. It is notable that attacks on Chiistian
places of woiship account foi the highest piopoition of such acts of violence against places
of woiship uocumenteu in this iepoit foi this peiiou. Such acts incluue physical uamage oi
uestiuction causeu to places of woiship, as well as thieats anu violence against Chiistian
cleigy anu inuiviuuals.
In a majoiity of cases Evangelical chuiches aie the piime taiget
anu the attacks aie concentiateu in the Westein anu Southein piovinces. These chuiches
also face a seiies of legal anu buieauciatic challenges to caiiying out theii ieligious
A majoiity of the Chiistian actois inteivieweu foi this iepoit point to a Sinhala-Buuuhist
ievival aftei the wai anu the tiiumphalism that followeu, as uiiving the attacks aftei Nay
2uu9. While aggiession against minoiities is not new, some Chiistian gioups anu cleigy
stateu that theie is a wave of ieneweu attacks uue to the effoits to claim Sii Lanka as a
Sinhala-Buuuhist nation in a post-wai eia.
In auuition, theie have been isolateu inciuents
iepoiteu of clashes between Chiistians anu othei minoiities.
Theie have also been intia-
ieligious tensions paiticulaily between the local Catholic community anu non-tiauitional
Chiistian gioups, incluuing the Noithein anu Eastein piovinces.
Nany of the iepoiteu attacks on Chiistian places of woiship have histoiically stemmeu
fiom the pioselytising by Chiistian gioups anu the stiuggle foi political anu socio-economic
uominance between Chiistian anu Buuuhist gioups, paiticulaily uuiing the colonial eia anu
post-inuepenuence peiiou. Bowevei, uuiing the last uecaue tensions between the Buuuhist
anu Chiistian communities intensifieu against a backuiop of accusations of 'unethical
conveisions' allegeuly thiough the use of mateiial inuucements among othei means. In
2uuS anu 2uu4, the intensity anu fiequency of uiiect attacks against Chiistian gioups

In miu 2u12, the Calvaiy Chuich, the Assembly of uou Chuich, the Seventh Bay Auventist Chuich anu the Nethouist Chuich in
Beniyaya stoppeu functioning following ueath thieats to the iespective pastois. Souice-Inteiview with a membei of a Chiistian
Association, August 2u12

Inteiviews with minoiity gioups acioss ieligions, August to Novembei 2u12

Seveial chuich congiegations in Kommatalamauu, Amanthanaveli anu vakaiai in the Batticaloa uistiict aie allegeu to have been
thieateneu anu a pastoial woikei chaseu away by majoiity Binuu villageis Souice: National Chiistian Evangelical Alliance of Sii Lanka
The tensions intensifieu aftei the ueath of Buuuhist monk veneiable uangouawila Soma Theio anu allegations that he hau been killeu
by Chiistian gioups when he visiteu Russia. ("Eviuence of uangouawila Soma Theio Nuiuei," Sinhala Buuuhist, 24 Septembei 2u1u,
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page >E
mainly evangelical Chiistian gioups but incluuing othei Chiistian gioups as well - was
consiueieu to be at its peak.
The issue of conveision has pioveu to be a contentious one
between Chiistian uenominations. The antipathy towaius Chiistian chuiches also ielates to
the wai. Chiistian entities, paiticulaily those in the Noith anu East weie seen as pio-peace
oi even pio-LTTE. Issues such as highlighting of human iights anu peace issues by some
Chiistian gioups have also cieateu inteinal tensions within the inuiviuual Chiistian
As uocumenteu in this iepoit theie aie a numbei of cases wheie Chiistian places of
woiship have faceu physical uamage anu¡oi peisons anu objects within chuiches have
suffeieu violence following the wai. Bostility anu violence fiom the public anu host
communities has been iaiseu as a concein by Evangelical gioups, some Piotestant Chiistian
gioups anu even inuiviuual Catholic communities. These acts of violence anu intimiuation
occui at multiple levels, which incluue physical assault, thieats anu haiassment of pastois,
theii families anu membeis of congiegations. Theie aie also iestiictions on woiship,
pievention of access to chuiches, iestiictions on the builuing of new places of woiship, as
well as attacks on builuings associateu with the chuich.

8/&" (- !""#$%& () 943/&"/#) *+#$,& (- 2(3&4/5


!53/+ EV *,5/+/;#)#V T,4/U,+#V 9(+(D@( I/&"3/$"Q An uniuentifieu gioup bioke into a 1Su yeai olu
Nethouist Chuich in Behiwela anu stole musical instiuments, bibles hymnals, anu uocuments incluuing
baptism anu maiiiage iecoius. The Boialasgamuwa Police weie infoimeu of the inciuent.

Z1), PV ?#+<15#I1V F#))#3 I/&"3/$"Q A gioup of about Suu people weie accuseu of uamaging the
Apostolic Chuich. The attack took place while a seivice was going on. The pastoi anu congiegation weie
allegeuly thieateneu anu oiueieu to stop the seivice. Seven peisons weie aiiesteu, anu action fileu in the
local Nagistiates Couit.

Z1), G>V !;13<,I# [1)$"/()V F/)),3/;#V *(+())#31U# I/&"3/$"Q Two Catholic shiines weie iepoiteu
uamageu in Polonnaiuwa. The fiist was a catholic statue at Ayuiveua junction, while anothei was iemoveu
fiom the same location anu latei founu bioken neai the Paiakiama Samuuia tank.

http:¡¡sinhalabuuuhist.com¡2u1u¡u9¡eviuence-of-gangouawila-soma-theio-muiuei¡; Tekla Szymanski, uangouawila Soma Theia: The
People's Nonk, Woilu Piess Review, Apiil 2uu4: http:¡¡www.woilupiess.oig¡Asia¡1848.cfm)

Inteiview with the National Chiistian Evangelical Alliance, August 2u12

Inteinational Religious Fieeuom Repoit 2uu9, Buieau of Bemociacy, Buman Rights anu Laboui, 26 0ctobei 2uu9

Recoius fiom the NCEASL

Inteinational Religious Fieeuom Repoit 2uu9, Buieau of Bemociacy, Buman Rights anu Laboui, 26 0ctobei 2uu9; Also, iecoius fiom
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page >M
Z1), =KV F#%#)I13#V 31),0#+# I/&"3/$"Q The vineyaiu Community Chuich was iepoiteu to have been
attackeu multiple times between Naich anu }uly. The Chuich piemises weie allegeuly ueseciateu with
human faeces anu the watei pump fiom the Chuich was stolen, fuinituie uamageu, the ioof of the Chuich
uestioyeu on }uly 12
2uu9. In sepaiate inciuents, cleigy attacheu to the Chuich weie physically attackeu
sustaining injuiies, anu thieateneu by a gioup of people. Seveial police iepoits weie fileu: uCIB 22S¡217
Pannala Police Station anu uCIB SS2¡94.

Z1+; EV T/$%U,++#V F#"#3# I/&"3/$"Q A gioup of about 1uu people anu Su Buuuhist monks allegeuly enteieu
the Assemblies of uou Chuich piemises bieaking the gate anu the fence. The pastoi was away at the time.
They coulu not entei the Chuich piemises, but thieatening notices weie pasteu on the walls stating that
any foim of Chiistian woiship in the place was piohibiteu, anu thieatening to uestioy anyone who
iemoves the notice. A complaint was lougeu with the Bickwella Police. Entiy numbei CIB1¡2S2¡84.

Z1+; =NV *#))#+#I/V ](3#$4$4(+#/V *1""#+#D I/&"3/$"Q The Assemblies of uou Chuich was buineu uown
foi the seconu time, following a pievious aison attack on August 17
2uu8. A tempoiaiy hall in which the
Chuich helu meetings was set on fiie anu was completely uestioyeu by uniuentifieu peisons. The stiuctuie
was iebuilt anu a police complaint was maue.

!101&" =>V B+5/"/;#V ^#++, I/&"3/$"Q Aiounu Su people anu S Buuuhist monks aie allegeu to have uisiupteu
Sunuay woiship seivices at the Living voice of Life Apostolic Chuich, physically assaulteu the pastoi, anu
veibally abuseu the congiegation. Two of the thiee monks aie allegeu to be fiom the Saianankaia vihaiaya
Buuuhist temple. The inciuent was latei iepoiteu to the police.

!101&" >L, F#))#3 I/&"3/$"Q The Chuich of }esus the Savioui was bioken into by an uniuentifieu gioup
who bioke the winuows, tables, uoois anu the pulpit. The electiical supply of the Chuich was uisconnecteu
anu wiies anu switchboxes uestioyeu. Buint oil was pouieu insiue Chuich piemises anu the ioof was
uamageu. A complaint was maue to the Nannai police.

S$"(@,3 EV !""#D5/"/;#V J#)I#3#U,+#V J#I1++# I/&"3/$"Q A small centie useu foi piayei anu woiship
calleu the Calvaiy Loving Chuich was uemolisheu uuiing the night. A complaint was maue to the local

S$"(@,3 GLV \#"15/"/;#U#"",V 31),0#+# I/&"3/$"Q The uooi, ceiling anu walls of the Beavenly vision
Fellowship Piayei Centie, weie uamageu in an aison attack by uniuentifieu peisons. A complaint was
lougeu with the Potuheia Police on 0ctobei 11. Theie weie no witnesses to the inciuent.

](<,D@,3 EV \(&U#""#V 9(+(D@( I/&"3/$"Q Aiounu 2uu people suiiounueu the }esus Nevei Fails Piayei
Centie at 12.4Spm, huileu stones at the builuing, uamageu the builuing exteiioi, winuows, aii-conuitioning
units anu the gate. They allegeuly thieateneu to kill the pastoi, accuseu him of unethical conveisions anu
uemanueu that he stop healing seivices. Police weie calleu in to stop the attacks but weie unable to

Recoius fiom the NCEASL





Recoius fiom the NCEASL; Also Inteinational Religious Fieeuom Repoit 2u1u, Buieau of Bemociacy, Buman Rights anu Laboui, 17
Novembei 2u1u

Recoius fiom the NCEASL
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page >P
pievent uamage to the builuing. The piayei centie suspenueu seivices anu meetings uue to feai of fuithei
attacks anu thieats to membeis of the chuich.

](<,D@,3 =NV 2#3#0(I#V \,+#)/;#V ^#D5#4# I/&"3/$"Q The Chuich of the Fouisquaie uospel was
uamageu anu the Pastoi anu congiegation thieateneu by a gioup of about 2uu people that allegeuly
incluueu the Ninistei of Laboui anu 0PFA oiganizei foi Kelaniya, Neivyn Silva, an NP anu a piovincial
counciloi anu seveial police officeis. The Pastoi was waineu to stop seivices anu constiuction activity at
the chuich, uespite leave to pioceeu with constiuction being obtaineu fiom the Appeal Couit of Sii Lanka
on Novembei S, 2uu9. A Complaint was maue to the Kelaniya police, no action has been taken against those

T,$,D@,3 MV 93((&U#"",V Z#,+#V ^#D5#4# I/&"3/$"Q A gioup of uniuentifieu people aimeu with weapons
foicefully enteieu the Catholic 0ui Lauy of Rose Nystica Chuich, set fiie to the inteiioi uamaging the altai,
statues anu pews, anu buint two vehicles. The ieason behinu the attack is suspecteu to be iesumption of a
constiuction pioject to expanu the chuich. In 2uu9 the Supieme Couit oveituineu a police uecision to ban
constiuction. Police, aimy anu special task foice weie ueployeu to maintain law anu oiuei in the aiea anu
aiiest suspects who weie believeu to be fiom that locality. The numbeis of people who aie saiu to have
attackeu the chuich vaiies between iepoits.

T,$,D@,3 GEV ?4/D/+#/"4/<1V J#""/$#+(# I/&"3/$"Q A tempoiaiy sheltei in which the Calvaiy Woiship
Centie was houseu was attackeu at miunight by uniuentifieu peisons anu uestioyeu. A complaint was
lougeu with the vavunatheevu police (CIB 1¡SS8¡Su). This chuich has been attackeu 4 times in the past.


F#3$4 =N, ^,3D#)U#"",V *10(I#V ^#D5#4# I/&"3/$"Q At about 1u.Suam, a gioup of about 1Su people
allegeuly leu by Buuuhist monks, foicefully enteieu the Chuich of the Fouisquaie uospel piemises, thiew
stones at the builuing, uestioyeu chaiis anu othei fuinituie, anu thieateneu the pastoi. A complaint maue
to the police was latei withuiawn in the hopes of ieaching an amicable settlement. The chuich tempoiaiily
suspenueu seivices uue to the tense anu volatile situation that pievaileu. Seivices iesumeu subsequently.

!53/+ A #)I !53/+ G>V T(+(&@#0#;#V ]#U#+#5/"/;#V \#)I; I/&"3/$"Q A gioup of people huileu stones at the
Apostolic Chuich, uamaging the ioof. 0n Apiil 1S
the chuich was attackeu by an uniuentifieu gang uuiing
the night. The pulpit, musical instiuments anu fuinituie useu by the Sunuay school chiluien weie iemoveu
fiom the builuing anu set on fiie. A complaint was lougeu at the Nawalapitiya police station. The chuich
hau iepoiteuly been functioning in the aiea foi 14 yeais.

This inciuent was wiuely televiseu on local meuia anu viueo footage of the attack is available online; also, iecoius fiom the NCEASL,
anu Inteinational Religious Fieeuom Repoit 2u1u, Buieau of Bemociacy, Buman Rights anu Laboui, 17 Novembei 2u1u

Recoius fiom the NCEASL; Also, Inteinational Religious Fieeuom Repoit 2u1u, Buieau of Bemociacy, Buman Rights anu Laboui, 17
Novembei 2u1u

'Buuuhists extiemists biutally attack Catholic Chuich in Sii Lanka,' Catholic News Agency, 11 Becembei 2uu9;
'Nob attacks chuich,' The voice of the Naityis (online), 9 Becembei 2uu9

Recoius fiom NCEASL; Also, Inteinational Religious Fieeuom Repoit 2u1u, Buieau of Bemociacy, Buman Rights anu Laboui, 17
Novembei 2u1u


Recoius fiom the NCEASL

Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page >N

F#; L=V ?4/315,)"413#/V J#""/$#+(# I/&"3/$"Q An uniuentifieu gioup of people attackeu the Living uou
Piayei Centie in this aiea aiounu miunight, uamaging 2u conciete pillais. A complaint was lougeu at the
Batticaloa police station.

Z1), =AV .#[#0/3/;#V 9(+(D@( I/&"3/$"Q At aiounu 4pm the Calvaiy Chiistian Chuich was uemolisheu by
officials of the 0BA who aiiiveu at the piemises with a gioup of about 1uu police officeis incluuing the
0ICs of the suiiounuing police stations. The 0BA saiu the chuich was an unauthoiiseu constiuction, which
the Chuich uenies. The Chuich was establisheu in 198S, a peimanent builuing was constiucteu in 2uu8
upon the authoiity of the Piesiuential Secietaiiat.

S$"(@,3 GLV \#+1"#3#V \#+1"#3# I/&"3/$"Q A gioup of about SS people allegeuly leu by 6 Buuuhist monks
enteieu the piemises of the Foui Squaie uospel Chuich at about 1u.2S a.m., uisiupteu woiship seivices,
assaulteu the pastoi anu uamageu fuinituie anu musical instiuments, The Chuich lougeu a complaint with
the Kalutaia Noith police station (Police Entiy No: CIB 1 u9¡116), anu fileu a case with the Kalutaia
Nagistiates Couit.

8#&" U,,% (- S$"(@,3 =LGLV J1+#"4%(415/"/;#V \,0#++, I/&"3/$"Q An uniuentifieu gioup of people aie
allegeu to have enteieu the piemises of the Assembly of uou Chuich while the pastoi was away anu set fiie
to the chaiis anu mats useu by the congiegation. The pastoi anu the congiegation have iepoiteuly faceu
thieats on a pievious occasion on 0ctobei 24, 2u1u.


Z#)1#3; =>V F/II,)/;#V O#D@#)"("# I/&"3/$"Q 0niuentifieu people bioke the winuows of this Assembly
of uou Chuich. A complaint has iepoiteuly been fileu with local police. The pastoi anu his family, who weie
insiue at the time of attack, weie pieviously taigeteu in }uly 2uu8, when assailants set theii house ablaze
following thieats to him anu his chuich.

F#3$4 LPV H)0/3/;#V \#+1"#3# I/&"3/$"Q An uniuentifieu gioup of people aie allegeu to have thiown stones
at the Chiistian Fellowship Chuich aiounu 1pm, while the Kalutaia Pastois Fellowship meeting was going
on. The ioof of the builuing was iepoiteu to have sustaineu uamage.

Z1), LEV F#4#U,U#V F#3#U/+#V *1""#+#D I/&"3/$"Q The Piayei Towei Chuich piemises was ueseciateu
by human exciement, by uniuentifieu peisons in the eaily houis of the uay. Latei that moining, a gioup of
about 2uu people aie allegeu to have foicefully enteieu the chuich anu thieateneu the pastoi anu
congiegation. Police fileu action against the attackeis anu the chuich on account of bieach of peace in the
Naiawila Nagistiates couit.


Recoius fiom the NCEASL; Also 2u1u Repoit on Inteinational Religious Fieeuom - Sii Lanka, 0niteu States Bepaitment of State,
Buieau of Bemociacy, Buman Rights anu Laboui, 17 Novembei 2u1u

Recoius fiom NCEASL; Also 2u11 Repoit on Inteinational Religious Fieeuom - Sii Lanka, 0niteu States Bepaitment of State, Buieau of
Bemociacy, Buman Rights anu Laboui, Su }uly 2u12

Recoius fiom the NCEASL



Recoius fiom the NCEASL
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page >K

!101&" GV F#4#U,U#V 94/+#UV *1""#+#D I/&"3/$"Q A gioup of uniuentifieu people aie allegeu to have
bioken into the Piayei Towei Chuich anu stolen Chiistian books anu liteiatuie fiom a cupboaiu insiue the

F#3$4 GGV \("/;#%1D@#3#V \,0#++, I/&"3/$"Q The Assembly of uou chuich was stoneu by uniuentifieu
assailants at appioximately 12 a.m., causing uamage to the ioof. Police entiy numbei CIB 11¡1421S4.

!53/+ =KV \#))/;#V ?3/)$(D#+,, T/&"3/$"Q A cioss at the fiont of the Boly Piayei Chapel was uamageu anu
the Pastoi thieateneu, allegeuly by a gioup of people that incluueu foui Buuuhist monks.

F#; G>V F#I#D5,V *1""#+#D I/&"3/$"Q A gioup of about 1uu people incluuing a Buuuhist monk aie allegeu
to have enteieu the Calvaiy Pamula Namaskaia Sabhawa Chuich while it was engageu in Sunuay woiship
seivices, assaulteu chuich membeis anu uamageu fuinituie anu the builuing. Following the inciuent the
police have iepoiteuly auviseu that woiship seivices be uiscontinueu. The Pastoi hau agieeu. No aiiests
have been maue at the time of this iepoit.

Z1), NV F#4#U,U#V *1""#+#D I/&"3/$"Q A gioup of about Su people enteieu the Piayei Towei Chuich
piemises anu causeu uamage. Piayei seivices weie cancelleu the following Sunuay. The police, membeis of
the Piaueshiya Sabha anu Catholic cleigy aie iepoiteu to have appealeu to the pastoi anu the accuseu to
iesolve the mattei peacefully anu not have chaiges fileu against the attackeis. They coulu not ieach an
agieement anu two cases weie fileu by the police against seven suspects with iegaius to assault, uamage to
vehicles anu theft.

Z1+; =KV T#30# ?(U)V !+1"40#D#V ^#++, I/&"3/$"Q A gioup of about Su people incluuing 1S Buuuhist
monks aie allegeu to have uisiupteu Sunuay woiship seivices, uamageu fuinituie anu stolen books anu
money at the Assembly of uou chuich. The police iepoiteuly aiiiveu an houi anu a half latei. The Police
infoimeu the Pastoi that he was in bieach of a ciiculai issueu by the Ninistiy of Religious Affaiis anu was
instiucteu to supply a lettei of authoiisation fiom the Ninistiy within 14 uays.

!101&" GKV T,)/;#;#V F#"#3# I/&"3/$"Q A gioup of about Su people with two Buuuhist monks aie allegeu
to have foicefully enteieu the Seventh Bay Auventist Chuich aiounu S.Supm, toin uown the bannei of the
chuich anu ieplaceu it with Buuuhist flags anu banneis. The pulpit anu benches of the chuich weie
iepoiteuly iemoveu anu the monks ueclaieu the piemises to be a place of Buuuhist woiship anu occupieu
it. A police complaint (28S¡2uu¡CIB S) was maue.

S$"(@,3 =PV J#+#)0(I#V .#")#513# T/&"3/$"Q A gioup of about 1S people incluuing membeis of the
Buuuhist cleigy aie allegeu to have enteieu the piemises of the Siloam Evangelical Nission anu uestioyeu
the name boaiu of the chuich. The gioup is also iepoiteu to have veibally thieateneu the pastoi who was







Baseu on iepoits fiom NCEASL as well as iepoits fiom inteiviews with membeis of a mainstieam Chiistian oiganisation in 0ctobei
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page AL
not piesent at the time. The pastoi iepoiteu the inciuent to the police, who infoimeu him that he coulu
continue with woiship seivices. The Chuich has been in opeiation since 199S.

S$"(@,3 =NV B"4#)0#D#V \#+1"#3# T/&"3/$"Q At about 9.Suam, a gioup of people allegeuly leu by S
Buuuhist monks enteieu the piemises of the }esus With 0s Piayei Ninistiy chuich anu objecteu to seivices
being helu. Chaiis weie iepoiteu to have been uasheu on the giounu anu two chuich membeis assaulteu.

](<,D@,3 =EV F(3#%(""#)$4,)#/V J#""/$#+(# T/&"3/$": A tempoiaiy sheltei useu by the Living voice of
Life Chuich was uamageu by uniuentifieu people, the uooi locks bioken anu the uooi uamageu. A
congiegation of about 1uu people attenus the chuich.

T,$,D@,3 LKV 2,,3#%,"/;#V O#D@#)"("# I/&"3/$"Q A gioup of about 1,uuu people incluuing Buuuhist
cleigy aie allegeu to have attackeu the }eevanalokaya Sabhawa Chuich, causing uamage to chuich
equipment, fuinituie anu vehicles. The pastoi of the chuich is also iepoiteu to have been assaulteu. Two
police officeis who weie piesent weie also iepoiteu to have been assaulteu by the gioup.


Z#)1#3; =KV .#")#513#V .#")#513# T/&"3/$"Q At about 6.4Spm, thiee Buuuhist monks aie iepoiteu to
have enteieu the piemises of the New Life Chuich in Ratnapuia anu uamageu the name boaiu of the

?3,)I& /) !""#$%& #)I .,+#",I H)$/I,)"&

The majoiity of cases iepoiteu publicly anu in this iepoit ielate to attacks against
Evangelical Chiistians, while most of the attacks aie concentiateu in the Southein anu
Cential piovinces of the countiy. In compaiison to the moie wiuespieau attacks on
Evangelical chuiches, the attacks on othei Chiistian uenominations appeai fewei anu moie
Bowevei, statues aujoining Catholic chuiches, as well as those locateu in public
spaces, have been vanualiseu, some of these in aieas consiueieu impoitant by Buuuhist
communities, such as Polonnaiuwa anu Ninneiiya.
The fact that theie aie inciuents
iepoiteu in the meuia anu to the authoiities iaises seiious issues ielating to ieligious
fieeuom, peace anu the iule of law in the post-wai context.

Tamil uuaiuian, Nonks Attack Pastoi anu vanualise Chuich, 1u }anuaiy 2u1S:
http:¡¡www.tamilguaiuian.com¡aiticle.asp.aiticleiu=6SSS; Also, iecoius fiom the NCEASL

Recoius fiom the NCEASL

Inteiviews weie helu with membeis of mainstieam Chiistian uenominations, but theie weie limiteu iecoius kept of attacks on
ieligious places aftei the wai. Inteinational Religious Fieeuom Repoit 2uu9, Buieau of Bemociacy, Buman Rights anu Laboui, 26
0ctobei 2uu9

Foi instance in the Catholic Convent Piasauani in Ninneiiya, The Catholic National Association of the Laity iepoiteu that a 1u yeai olu
statue of }esus Chiist in the piemises was vanualiseu: Inteinational Religious Fieeuom Repoit 2uu9, Buieau of Bemociacy, Buman Rights
anu Laboui, 26 0ctobei 2uu9; 0n 26 0ctobei 2u12, in 0ppuveli Tiincomalee uistiict, uniuentifieu peison¡s uamageu a Catholic statue
neai the 0ppuveli police station: Infoimation obtaineu fiom a Catholic piiest in Tiincomalee; 'Sii Lanka: Chuich vanualiseu in
Tiincomalee, mosque buint in Anuiauapuia' vivalanka.com, 27 0ctobei 2u12: (http:¡¡www.vivalanka.com¡newspage¡S6u9S1ai-sii-

Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page AG
In seveial cases, the attack on a place of woiship is accompanieu by othei acts of violence
anu thieats, incluuing physical attacks on the homes of Chiistian cleigy anu¡oi membeis of
the chuich congiegation.
In the peiiou following the enu of the wai, theie have been at
least 22 cases iepoiteu of piiests anu pastois being physically assaulteu - all of them fiom
Evangelical Chiistian chuiches.
In auuition to physical assault, thieats anu haiassment of
pastois, theie have also been such inciuents also against theii families anu membeis of
In some cases, chuich authoiities anu membeis of Chiistian cleigy have
iepoiteu multiple thieats anu attacks to themselves anu places of woiship. Foi instance,
the Calvaiy Woiship Centie was attackeu foui times piioi to Becembei 2uu9.
In this
iepoit each of these attacks on inuiviuual places of woiship has not been counteu as
sepaiate inciuents.
Nost of the iepoiteu cases of mob attacks on chuiches in the post-wai context have been
iepoiteu fiom the South, concentiateu in paiticulai uistiicts incluuing uampaha, Kalutaia,
Puttalam, Colombo anu Nataia. The peipetiatois in the inciuents aie not known in all the
cases but theie aie seveial attacks in which Buuuhist cleigy aie allegeu to have been
involveu, as pait of mobs iesponsible foi the attacks. Nob violence is a common souice of
violence faceu by the Evangelical community. Foi instance, a community centie being
constiucteu by the Nethouist Chuich in Nawathawewa, Anuiauhapuia was uamageu on
the 2S
of Novembei 2uu9, allegeuly by a mob of about 1uu people fiom the Nallamauuwa
Some of the attacks on chuiches have been justifieu by the peipetiatois as an

Foi instance, on Febiuaiy 22 2u12, the gate of the iesiuence of the pastoi fiom the Assembly of uou Chuich in Ambalangoua, ualle
uistiict was vanualiseu. 0niuentifieu people hau wiitten a waining message 'not to incite the village' anu uiawn a skull anu ciossbones.
(Souice: Bocuments fiom NCEASL).This was one of a seiies of thieats, intimiuation anu attacks leveleu at the same chuich, incluuing a
physical assault on the pastoi on Febiuaiy 2u, 2u12. 0n }anuaiy 16, 2u1u, the house of the pastoi fiom the Pentecostal Assembly of Sii
Lanka in Nathugama, Kalutaia was allegeuly set on fiie.

Beniyaya, Nataia -0n 9 August 2u12, a pastoi anu his wife fiom the Assemblies of uou Chuich weie allegeuly attackeu by a gioup of
4u people incluuing five Buuuhist monks anu a membei of the Piaueshiya Sabha who aiiiveu in a tiuck anu thiee tiishaws. Accoiuing to
iepoits, the pastoi was beaten, accuseu of spieauing Chiistianity anu thieateneu him with ueath if he uiu not stop. The pastoi anu his
wife's national iuentity caius, mobile phone anu Bible weie also iepoiteu stolen. A complaint was maue to the police iegaiuing the
assault. (NCEASL)
Rauawana, uampaha uistiict - 0n 2S }uly 2u1u the pastoi anu his wife fiom the Chuich of the Fouisquaie uospel in weie physically
assaulteu by foui men, anu uouseu with engine oil. A complaint was maue to the local police, but no aiiests weie maue. 0n 1 August
2u1u, the pastoi was summoneu to the police station anu questioneu on the iegistiation of the chuich, following a complaint by a
Buuuhist monk. (NCEASL).
Pannala, Kuiunegala uistiict - 0n 2S Naich 2uu9, an assistant pastoi anu woikei attacheu to the vineyaiu Community chuich weie
attackeu with a machete anu sustaineu seiious injuiies. A complaint was maue to the Pannala police - CIB 1uu¡Su9 - anu a man by the
name of Nahinua BhaimasiiiNuthuaiachchi was aiiesteu anu latei ieleaseu on bail (NCEASL)

Baiga Town, Aluthgama, ualle uistiict - 0n 22 }uly 2u12, two female chuich woikeis fiom the Assemblies of uou Chuich weie
iepoiteuly visiting the home of a chuich membei in Waiapitiya. A mob of 2u people allegeuly uiaggeu the women out of the house anu
took them by foice to the Buuuhist temple in the village wheie they weie questioneu by Buuuhist monks anu accuseu of attempting to
conveit Buuuhists. The police weie infoimeu of the inciuent, they auviseu both paities to maintain the peace (NCEASL)
ualkulana, Anuiauhapuia uistiict - 0n 8 Nay 2u11, a Chiistian family fiom the aiea was allegeuly visiteu by a gioup of men incluuing a
Buuuhist monk uemanuing that they obseive 'sil' a Buuuhist ieligious piactice, anu tolu that if they uiun't comply, they woulu be evicteu
fiom theii home. The family lougeu a complaint with the Thiiappane police - Entiy Numbei: S12¡9u 1

See case in list of attacks on ieligious places. Souice: NCEASL. Nultiple attacks on the same place has not been consiueieu as sepaiate
attacks in this iepoit

Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page A=
attack against illegal oi unauthoiiseu stiuctuies, anu uoveinment iegulations have been
useu to suppoit these claims.
Attacks have not been iestiicteu to aieas wheie Sinhala
Buuuhist foim a majoiity, but weie also obseiveu in othei aieas such as Nannai,
Tiincomalee anu Batticaloa. In some of these cases the peipetiatois aie believeu to be fiom
the Tamil community.

S"4,3 *,3$,5"/()& (- ?43,#" #)I H)&,$13/";

Apait fiom uiiect attacks on chuiches, theie aie seveial othei souices of feai anu
insecuiity among Chiistians in Sii Lanka that must be noteu, many of which ielate to
iestiictions on ieligious piactice.
!553,4,)&/()& #)I -,#3& /) "4, 7(1"4Q Even while the taiget of violence against
Chiistians in the South is focuseu on Evangelical gioups, othei Chiistian uenominations
have theii own appiehensions. An inteiview with a Catholic piiest in Kanuy foi this iepoit
inuicateu that, while ieligious fieeuom has impioveu to an extent, fiom a Chiistian
peispective theie continues to be a geneial climate of contiol anu iestiiction on ieligion:
T7" 2"/3+( +6(3"%."3 A"2$63" *" 4"$( =8$= 0= *0%% 2$63" 9(+A%")3V 7" #"= 9"()0330+/ =+
?+ "."(B=80/# 3+ =8$= *" ?+/\= 4$2" $/B 9(+A%")3V '(""?+) 38+6%? A" =8" 3$)" 4+(
"."(B+/"C A6= 0= 03 /+=V W8" 9+%02" 8$." 2+)" $/? $3,"? 63 ]6"3=0+/3 $A+6= *8$=
9(+#($))"3 *" $(" 2+/?62=0/#C *8+ 03 2+)0/#C *8"/ "."/ DXZRE 9"+9%" #$=8"( 8"("V
W8"B 8$." $3,"? 63 4+( ?"=$0%3 +4 $%% 9(+#($))"3 *" 2+/?62= 4+( =8" "3=$=" 9"+9%"V K/ $
*$B 4(""?+) 8$3 0/2("$3"?C A6= =8"(" 03 3=0%% ="/30+/VT

In this sense the souice of feai is not just the majoiity community but also the State uue to
the uoveinment's intoleiance foi uissent anu its willingness to allow foi gioups anu
inuiviuuals to flout the iule of law.
Inuiiect haiassment has been iepoiteu fiom villages in some pieuominantly Sinhala-
Buuuhist uistiicts anu aieas consiueieu 'sacieu' to Buuuhists. Foi example in some villages
in Tantiimale, Anuiauhapuia, villageis who have conveiteu to Chiistianity face loss of
membeiship fiom influential community oiganisations such as the 'Naianauhaia
Samithiyas' oi funeial welfaie societies. Tiauitionally iun by Buuuhist cleigy of the village
oi aiea, Chiistian villageis aie uenieu benefits of membeiship anu iepoit being haiasseu

Recoius obtaineu fiom the NCEASL

Foi instance, the use of 0iban Bevelopment Authoiity iegulations passeu in 2uu8 that iequiies the consent of two thiius of people
living within a half a kilometei iauius foi new constiuction within aieas uesignateu as uiban uevelopment aieas. This iule coulu be useu
by law to iestiict expansion of an existing place of woiship in a uesignateu aiea, but not iemove an existing place of woiship.

Inteiview with a Catholic piiest fiom the Kanuy uistiict, Novembei 2u12
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page A>
by cleigy anu villageis who uo not let them caiiy out Chiistian funeial iites. "We have been
tolu that Tantiimale is a Buuuhist aiea anu no othei ieligion can uo anything heie."
the majoiity of attacks on places of ieligious woiship have been in aieas outsiue the Noith
anu East, Evangelical gioups also complain of haiassment in the Noith anu the East fiom
hostile gioups, incluuing in Nannai anu Batticaloa which has seen at least two attacks since
the enu of the wai.

Theie have also been inuiviuual cases of haiassment anu intimiuation of Chiistian chiluien
in schools which aie pieuominantly Buuuhist. Foi instance, an inciuent was iepoiteu fiom
Nahanama College in uetambe Kanuy wheie a 14 yeai olu Roman Catholic stuuent was
physically assaulteu by a teaching Buuuhist monk veneiable Rahula Theio on }une 11

2u12 foi not knowing the names of the paients of Loiu Buuuha.
It neeus to be noteu that
theie aie complaints fiom chiluien anu paients of haiassment baseu on ieligion in schools
associateu with othei ieligions oi uenominations. Foi instance, on }uly 24
2u12 in
Kaiukkuwa College, a Roman Catholic school in Nauampe, Puttalam uistiict, the Beputy
Piincipal of the school iepoiteuly askeu Piotestant Chiistian stuuents to line up anu 2u
chiluien weie allegeuly subjecteu to coipoial punishment, anu scolueu foi being non-
Roman Catholic.

94#++,)0,& -(3 )()6"3#I/"/()#+ $413$4,&Q In teims of the Constitution anu legal iegime
theie aie safeguaius to piotect ieligious fieeuom anu a numbei of Chiistian gioups pointeu
out that they face no seiious legal huiules to the enjoyment of theii ieligious iights.
Bowevei, some gioups, paiticulaily the Evangelicals iepoiteu a seiies of pioblems that
they have faceu on the giounu. In auuition to facing attacks anu specific instances of
pievention of access to chuiches by mobs,
some communities face iestiictions in the

Inteiview with a Pastoi fiom the Nethouist Chuich in Anuiauhapuia, 0ctobei 2u12

See list of attacks on page SS.

The boy was iepoiteuly assaulteu until he was bleeuing fiom his eai. Be was waineu by the monk anu anothei teachei to not infoim
anyone about the assault. Be was latei aumitteu to the Kanuy Teaching Bospital foi tieatment. A complaint was fileu with the Kanuy
Police (Complaint Numbei:WCIB 1¡84¡16). In a ciiculai (2uu9¡1u) Sii Lanka's Bepaitment of Euucation has iuleu that chiluien of faiths
othei than the pieuominant ieligion have the iight to leain theii own ieligious teachings, abiue by the coues of theii ieligious piactices
anu sit foi school exams. (Inteiview with Catholic Piiest associateu with the case, Novembei 2u12; 'A 14-yeais-olu stuuent is toituieu by
a Buuuhist monk foi iefusing to leain Buuuhism,' Asian Buman Rights Commission as iepoiteu in the Colombo Telegiaph, 1S }une 2u12).
In anothei inciuent in the Kalutaia uistiict, a 14-yeai olu school giil fiom Kalutaia Nagoua viuyalaya attenuing the Chuich of the
Fouisquaie uospel was allegeuly tolu to stop attenuing chuich anu attenu 'Baham Pasala' at the Buuuhist temple by a Buuuhist monk
fiom the aiea. (NCEASL)
Recoius obtaineu fiom the NCEASL

Nauampe, Puttalam uistiict - 0n 27 Nay 2u12, the ioau leauing to the Calvaiy Pamula Namaskaia Sabhawa chuich was obstiucteu
with iocks anu iopes, pieventing woishippeis fiom accessing the chuich. The inciuent was iepoiteu to the police. 0n }une 8, 2u12, thiee
families who hau attenueu a piayei meeting at the same chuich weie allegeuly accosteu by a mob of people while on the way back home.
Theii vehicle was iepoiteuly attackeu by ten aimeu people uamaging the winuows, anu the uiivei of the vehicle was beaten. The police
weie infoimeu; no aiiests weie maue (NCEASL).
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page AA
builuing of new places of woiship. Non-tiauitional chuiches point to a lack of iecognition in
the foimal iegulatoiy stiuctuie foi ieligions in Sii Lanka. Natteis peitaining to Chiistian
ieligious affaiis aie hanuleu by the Bepaitment of Chiistian Affaiis, which comes unuei the
Ninistiy of Buuuha Sasana anu Religious Affaiis. Bowevei, the Bepaitment allegeuly only
iecognises alieauy establisheu iepiesentative bouies such as the National Chiistian Council
oi the Catholic Bishops Confeience, foi auministiative anu othei iequiiements. Evangelical
gioups allege that the Cential uoveinment has also been ieluctant to iegistei new
chuiches, even as companies, while iegistiation unuei the Societies anu Tiust 0iuinance
limits the ability of these chuiches to conuuct ceitain financial tiansactions. As such, these
iegulations appeai to affect newei Chiistian uenominations iathei than establisheu Roman
Catholic anu Piotestant uenominations. 0nlike the Catholic anu Anglican chuiches, which
have a cleai hieiaichy anu have a longei histoiy in the countiy, Evangelical chuiches aie
vieweu with moie suspicion anu aie often seen as amoiphous gioups opeiating without
any official sanction. Bowevei, the Nethouist Chuich has also iepoiteu uifficulties in
obtaining planning peimission foi even non-chuich builuings such as chiluien's schools, if
the applicant foi peimission is affiliateu to a ieligious oiganisation.
Inteiviews foi this
iepoit also inuicate a pioblem of secuiing appioval foi new constiuctions at local
goveinment level.
Evangelical gioups have saiu that paiallel to cases of violence, the authoiities anu poweiful
Buuuhist actois aie using moie subtle means of intimiuation anu iestiiction, incluuing the
use of existing laws anu iegulations.
These gioups point to vaiious instances when
iegulations, ielating to noise pollution anu uiban uevelopment, among otheis have been
useu to pievent oi constiain Evangelical gioups fiom constiucting places of ieligious
woiship anu piacticing theii faith. Foi instance, the Ciiculai issueu by the then Religious
Affaiis anu Noial 0pliftment in Novembei 2uu8 iequiies 'peimission' fiom the Ninistiy foi
constiuction of a new ieligious place of woiship.
This Ciiculai, uiscusseu eailiei in this
iepoit, has allegeuly been useu to question the legality of ieligious places, both new anu
existing. Theie is no iequiiement foi ieligious places to iegistei with an authoiity in Sii
Lanka, neithei is theie a legal piovision foi a uoveinment office to pioviue peimission foi
the functioning of ieligious places.
Accoiuing to Evangelical gioups, letteis fiom the
Ninistiy of Buuuha Sasana anu Religious Affaiis aie also iequiieu foi chuiches to iegistei
with the Registiai of Naiiiages to conuuct maiiiage ceiemonies, anu by the 0BA to obtain
builuing peimits foi expansion of chuich piemises.
The possibility of anti-conveision

Inteiview with a iepiesentative of the Nethouist Chuich, Septembei 2u12

Inteiview with an official of the NCEASL, August 2u12

This applies to all ieligious places of woiship constiucteu aftei 2uu8.

Inteiview with official at Bepaitment of Buuuhist Affaiis, Septembei 2u12

Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page AE
legislation is an auuitional concein foi non-tiauitional chuiches. Bowevei the pioselytizing
by the Evangelical chuiches is seen as a seiious challenge foi the Catholic Chuich in
paiticulai as well as othei Piotestant gioups.
94#++,)0,& /) "4, ](3"4 #)I B#&"Q Buiing the wai, the oveiall secuiity situation cieateu
seiious pioblems foi exeicising of ieligious fieeuoms foi Chiistian communities in the
Noith anu East. Theie weie also specific issues, incluuing the violence against Chiistian
cleigy, especially the killing of piiests,
anu attacks against anu the occupation of
ieligious places of woiship.
In the post-wai context, a key issue that has been iepoiteu is
continuing iestiictions on access to chuiches in aieas that iemain closeu off by the militaiy,
as well as specific challenges ielating to ieligious woiship. While the militaiy has ovei the
last thiee yeais ieleaseu lanu anu impioveu access to places that it continues to occupy,
militaiy encioachment on lanu, incluuing chuich lanu, has been flaggeu as an issue in the
Noith incluuing the BSZ in }affna, anu aieas still closeu off in Nullaitivu anu in Nannai. In
Nullikulam in the Nannai uistiict foi instance, the Catholic Chuich has been openeu only
foi Sunuay Nass anu the militaiy iepoiteuly continues to occupy suiiounuing lanus, of
which the Catholic Chuich in Nannai says it has legal owneiship.
Theie aie iepoiteuly
1S chuiches anu at least S paiishes within the Palaly BSZ that aie still off-limits to civilians.
Continueu militaiy occupation has also meant that inteinally uisplaceu people (uue to the
wai) have not been able to iesettle heie.
The Catholic chuich of Nannai has also claimeu
that pait of the lanu belonging to St. Anthony's chuich in Kallaui is still unuei militaiy

Theie aie also iestiictions on woiship in the Noith. Chuiches iepoit iestiictions on
conuucting seivices uuiing the anniveisaiy of the enu of the wai (Nay), anu in the last
week oi so of Novembei, which was celebiateu as 'heioes' (Naaveeiai) week unuei the
T7" $(" 3=0%% 6/?"( $()B 2+/=(+%C $/? +/ =8"3" 39"20$% ?$B3C =8"B ?+/\= %0," 0= $/? 4+(
=8") 0= 03 $ ="((+(03= 46/2=0+/V U6= 9"+9%" *$/= =+ ?+ $ )$33 4+( =8" 3+6%3 +4 =8"0(

Refei case in list on page SS, Calvaiy Chiistian Chuich, Rajagiiiya, 24 }une 24 2u1u

Rev. Fi. Nicholaspillai Packiyaianjith a piiest woiking foi }esuit Refugee Seivice was killeu on 26 Septembei 2uu7 while Fi.
Thiiuchelvam Nihal }im Biown a Catholic Piiest seiving in the }affna Biocese uisappeaieu on 2u August 2uu6.

Foi instance the aitilleiy attack on the St. Philip Neii Chuich in Allaipiuuy, }affna on 1S August 2uu6; the attack killeu 1S people anu
injuieu S4.

Inteiview with a membei of the Catholic cleigy in Nannai; Ruki, "The stiuggle to go home in post wai Sii Lanka: The stoiy of
Nullikulam," uiounuviews, u1 August 2u12, http:¡¡giounuviews.oig¡2u12¡u8¡u1¡the-stiuggle-to-go-home-in-post-wai-sii-lanka-the-

'Appalling Conuitions of 'Resettleu' Tamil IBP's in the Wanni,' ubsjeyaiaj blog, 24 0ctobei 2u12,
http:¡¡ubsjeyaiaj.com¡ubsj¡aichives¡1189S; 'Soluieis 0ccupying Bomes of Bisplaceu Pievents Resettlement of IBP's,' Sii Lanka Biief,
u7 0ctobei 2u12.

Inteiview with a membei of the Catholic cleigy in Nannai in 0ctobei 2u12
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page AM
280%?("/ $/? %+."? +/"3V U6= =8" )0%0=$(B 2+)"3 $/? $3,3 63 *8B $(" B+6 (0/#0/# A"%%3_
U6= *" 2+/=0/6" =+ ?+ 0=VT

Chiistian cleigy inteivieweu foi this iepoit say they have been askeu not to iing bells, light
canules oi conuuct any woiship seivices uuiing this peiiou.
7" $(" /+= ("%$`"? $(+6/? =8" =0)" +4 =8" J$B $/? I+.")A"( 2"%"A($=0+/3V G."/ 04 *"
8$." ("#6%$( )$33C *" $(" $3,"? /+= =+ 2"%"A($=" +( 8+%? 3"(.02"3V K/ J$B NDEFDO *"
8$? $ 3"(.02" A"2$63" +6( 9(0"3= ?0"?C $/? *" 4$2"? 0336"3 +4 )0%0=$(B 2+)0/# $/?
3$B0/# /+= =+ 8$." =8" 3"(.02"VT

The Biiectoi of the Commission foi }ustice anu Peace of the Catholic Biocese of }affna in a
public statement on August 7
2u12 outlineu iestiictions on ieligious woiship incluuing
the holuing of piayei seivices helu foi wai victims in the Noith anu citeu "unuue
inteifeience by the militaiy."
Theie have also been iepoits of haiassment of inuiviuual
piiests. While in some this may be uue to theii involvement in woik peiceiveu to be
political oi thieatening to the uoveinment, in some cases this may be linkeu to peifoiming
ieligious woiship. Following an intei-faith piayei seivice foi all wai victims helu on the
fiist anniveisaiy of the enu of the wai, Catholic Piiest fiom the }affna Biocese, anu an
oiganisei of the event, Fathei }eyasekaiam was iepoiteuly inteiiogateu anu waineu anu
his National Iuentity Caiu was subsequently confiscateu.
Seveial ieligious actois have
expiesseu concein at continueu militaiisation in the post-wai context, anu militaiy
inteivention in cultuial anu ieligious affaiis. Inteiviews foi this iepoit also inuicate a
uiscontent at the piolifeiation of Buuuhist ielateu ieligious symbols anu stiuctuies in the
Noith in aieas wheie few Buuuhists live:
TW8" J63%0) 2+))6/0=0"3 $(" 2+)0/# A$2, 3%+*%B $4="( =8" *$( $/? 9"+9%" $(" /+=
38+*0/# ?032+)4+(= $A+6= 0= *8"/ )+3]6"3 $(" 96= 69V U6= *8"/ *" 3"" U6??803=
=")9%"3 2+)0/# 69 A6= /+ U6??803= 2+))6/0=BC =8"(" 03 0%%Z4""%0/#VT

This concein of the iesuigence of Buuuhist symbols anu temples appeaiing in the Noith
anu East was iaiseu by membeis of the Chiistian cleigy in the iegion anu also by othei
minoiity ieligious gioups.

Inteiview with a Catholic Piiest in }affna in 0ctobei 2u12.

Inteiview with Catholic piiest, Killinochchi in 0ctobei 2u12

Biiectoi, 'A statement: Commission Foi }ustice anu Peace of the Catholic Biocese of }affna', Colombo Telegiaph, 7 August 2u12 :


Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page AP
.,&5()&, "( !""#$%&

While it is uifficult to geneialise the iesponse by the uoveinment to attacks on Chiistian
places of woiship, in a numbei of inteiviews with gioups affecteu by the violence they
maue cleai that ieactions vaiieu. In a numbei of cases theie appeaieu to be some follow-up
by the authoiities, even if the iesponse was peiceiveu to be ineffective oi iesulteu in
sciutiny anu questioning of the Chiistian gioup by the authoiities. At a national level in
most cases theie has been no official iesponse to these attacks in teims of a public
statement by a Cabinet Ninistei oi the Piesiuent conuemning violence. Wheie theie have
been public iesponses they have been contiauictoiy at best. Foi instance, in Apiil 2uu9,
Ninistei Rohitha Abeygunawaiuene, NP foi the Kalutaia Bistiict is iepoiteu to have
infoimeu Pastoi Stanley Royston of the Assembly of uou Chuich (A0u) in Kalutaia
it was the official stance of the uoveinment that chuiches must close uown unless they aie
iegisteieu with the Ninistiy of Cultuial Affaiis.
Bowevei, at a subsequent meeting
between A0u Chuich officials anu Senioi Piesiuential Auvisoi anu Ninistei foi Economic
Bevelopment, Basil Rajapaksa, the lattei hau saiu that chuiches uiu not iequiie iegistiation
anu that attacks on chuiches woulu be uealt with.
In spite of this, as eviuent in this
iepoit, attacks on ieligious places have continueu without official conuemnation of the
spate of inciuents, oi even comment. This in tuin cieates the impiession that theie is no
official iesponse conuemning the violence oi even a uegiee of tacit suppoit foi the violence
eithei thiough inuiiect political influence oi little uefinitive action being taken to iesolve
uisputes anu pievent iecuiience.
Some Chiistian gioups noteu that they have iaiseu issues of violence anu militaiy
occupation of chuiches with vaiious actois within uoveinment. In the inteiviews it was
also noteu by some goveinment actois to those iaising issues of violence anu thieats that
they hau not ieceiveu auequate infoimation on such inciuents. At local goveinment level,
theie aie claims that iesponses by police have vaiieu fiom case to case, ianging fiom
piompt action, to being unable to take action uue to political oi othei piessuie, to iefusing
to iecoiu a police complaint anu tacitly suppoiting some attacks.
The police in some
inciuents of mob attack have uemanueu that piiests show authoiisation fiom the ielevant
authoiities ielating to the legality of the chuich builuing. This has been the expeiience of
Evangelical Chuiches in paiticulai. While it is possible that some Evangelical chuiches may
not be following the exact pioceuuies, it neeus to be noteu that theie is no legal

The Chuich has been functioning foi moie than 6u yeais anu hau faceu piioi attacks.

Inteiview with a membei of the NCEASL in Colombo, August 2u12

Inteinational Religious Fieeuom Repoit 2uu9, 0S Bepaitment of State, Buieau of Bemociacy, Buman Rights, anu Laboui, 26 0ctobei

Inteiviews with Chiistian ieligious oiganisations anu Chiistian cleigy between August anu 0ctobei 2u12
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page AN
iequiiement to iegistei a ieligious place, although new constiuction aftei 2uu8 iequiies
authoiisation fiom the Ninistiy of Buuuha Sasana anu Religious Affaiis.

Although police iepoits have been fileu in many of the cases of attack, aiiests have been
maue only in few specific inciuents. Bowevei theie have been some instances of positive
juuicial anu police action at local level in some cases. In specific instances chuiches anu
piayei centies have suspenueu seivices uue to feais of fuithei attacks. Theie have been
iepoiteu cases wheie uoveinment officials anu politically connecteu inuiviuuals weie
uiiectly involveu in attacks on Chiistian chuiches. A failuie to implement iule of law anu
piosecute those iesponsible foi attacks, has contiibuteu to a iecuiiing cycle of violence.
TW8" ]6"3=0+/ 03C ;*8+ 03 =8" #+."(/)"/= 0/ $/ 0336"_; P= /$=0+/$% %"."% 0= 03 =8"
1("30?"/= $/? =8" >$A0/"=C A6= $= %+2$% %"."% 0= 03 %+2$% #+."(/)"/= +44020$%3V K/ 3+)"
2$3"3 0= 03 =8" 3"26(0=B 4+(2"3V 78$= 8$99"/3 )$B /+= ("4%"2= =8" +44020$% #+."(/)"/=
.0"*9+0/= A6= =8"(" 03 /+ 2%"$( 0/?02$=0+/ 4(+) =8" #+."(/)"/=C $/? 9"+9%" $(" #0."/ $
A%$/, 38""= =+ ?+ *8$= =8"B %0,"VT

In the case of foimei wai zones, militaiy piesence anu involvement in civilian affaiis has
been questioneu: "The wai is ovei, why aie they |the militaiyj heie. They aie inteifeiing
with people's basic human iights."

Theie is a geneial attempt by tiauitional chuiches to iesolve issues thiough meuiation at
local level, anu¡oi thiough iepiesentation at the highest levels of uoveinment. uioups
iepiesenting Evangelical chuiches say they uo not want to set a pieceuent of auuiessing
ieligious tensions thiough political favouis anu have insteau calleu foi moie long-teim
solutions to ensuie safety to piactice theii faith, social toleiance anu ieligious equality.

They have also calleu foi gieatei iecognition at institutional level. Stiikingly theie aie a few
membeis of pailiament who happen to be Evangelical but they have been cautious in
iaising the issue as they uo not want to iisk being labelleu anu becoming the taiget of othei
politicians, the meuia, both State anu piivate, anu Buuuhist nationalist gioups. This in tuin
highlights the vulneiability of Evangelical gioups who aie also waiy of being seen to be too
vocal in the uomestic context as the geneial public is not suppoitive. Foi instance, in teims
of meuia coveiage, attacks on Evangelical places of woiship uo not always get highlighteu.
Limiteu coveiage is available in the English anu Tamil meuia while the Sinhala meuia tenus
to laigely ignoie the issue.

See section on legal fiamewoik goveining places of ieligious woiship on page --

Inteiview with membei of the National Chiistian Council, 0ctobei 2u12

Inteiview with a membei of the Catholic cleigy in the Noith, 0ctobei 2u12

Inteiview with the NCEASL, August 2u12
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page AK
In compaiison, the Catholic Chuich has moie access to the authoiities but theie is a
uiveigence in position between the southein anu noith-eastein chuiches. The foimei, at an
official level at least, tenus to be moie cautious on how it iaises such issues, piefeiiing
quiet engagement. Bence it was a challenge to obtain infoimation about inciuents. In at
least one instance, CPA was tolu by an official fiom the Catholic Chuich that theie weie no
inciuents of violence oi iestiictions on chuiches, anu theie was no neeu foi any iepoiting
of such inciuents to Nu0s.
In compaiison cleigy fiom the Noith anu East pioviueu
expeiiences of intimiuation, cases of occupation of chuiches anu inciuents. Nembeis of the
Catholic Chuich fiom the Noith anu East uiu note that theie have been giauual
impiovements in teims of the ielease of chuiches anu chuich lanu occupieu by the militaiy.
Bowevei, they also noteu the heavy influence anu even intimiuation by the militaiy, which
they feel along with othei issues incluuing past anu cuiient human iights issues uo not get
highlighteu by the national Catholic Chuich that is uominateu by Southein cleigymen. It
neeus to be noteu that the non-Evangelical chuiches have not tenueu to be vocal on the
attacks on Evangelical chuiches. Catholic cleigy in Sii Lanka have expiesseu concein ovei
'unethical' conveisions, anu have publicly calleu foi an alliance with Buuuhists to ueal with
what they consiuei a thieat to Catholicism. The Aichbishop of Colombo Caiuinal Nalcolm
Ranjith has iepoiteuly calleu foi an intei-ieligious committee with Buuuhists to monitoi
anu ueciue whethei to appiove the activities of evangelical chuiches to pievent ieligious
conflict between Buuuhists anu Chiistians.
In this sense it is cleai that even within the
Chiistian community theie aie significant uiffeiences as to how the pioblem of violence
against sections of the community will be uealt with.

Phone conveisation to iequest inteiview a iepiesentative of the Catholic Chuich, August 2u12

uianni valente, 'Sii Lanka's Caiuinal anu the Buuuhist-Catholic Axis, vatican Insiuei, 11 Novembei, 2u11
WEvangelical 'conveisions' cause conceinQ Caiuinal calls foi goveinment committee to monitoi activities of new chuiches', 0CA News, 7
Novembei 2u11: http:¡¡www.ucanews.com¡news¡evangelical-conveisions-cause-concein¡S4717
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page EL
!""#$%& #0#/)&" F1&+/D .,+/0/(1& *+#$,&

Foi the Nuslim community, paiticulaily in the Noith, the enu of wai offeieu them an
oppoitunity to iebuilu theii communities anu enjoy theii full iights, incluuing ieligious
fieeuom. While in some aieas the post-wai peiiou has offeieu the space foi ieconstiuction
anu ieligious ievival, theie have been a numbei of inciuents of violence, intimiuation anu
hate speech against Nuslims. These incluue attacks on physical stiuctuies such as
mosques, shiines anu Islamic ieligious schools oi 'mauiasas,' that have been uamageu oi
uestioyeu. In auuition piayei seivices have been uisiupteu, piotests have been helu
outsiue ieligious places, anu people have been waineu not to piay in some centies anu hate
speech has been uisseminateu thiough hanubills, leaflets anu websites.
Buiing the wai, insecuiities foi the Nuslim community stemmeu fiom multiple souices.
These incluueu the LTTE, the uoveinment, othei actois both political anu non-political
fiom bioauei society anu gioups within the community. As inteiviewees noteu, some of
these insecuiities have vanisheu post-wai while otheis continue to exist in a geneial
climate of appiehension anu even feai. These acts of violence take place in a context wheie
Nuslims feel that ceitain paits of the countiy have become moie hostile to them anu that
they aie obseiveu with gieatei suspicion:
W8"(" 8$3 A""/ $ 3B3=")$=02 2$)9$0#/ $#$0/3= J63%0)3 *0=8 3%+#$/3 $/? $#$0/3= =8"
(0#8= =+ +A3"(." ("%0#0+63 9($2=02"3V W8"(" 8$3 A""/ $ %+= +4 ("%0#0+63 8$=("? $/?
$2263$=0+/3 =8$= J63%0)3 38+6%? ("=6(/ =+ =8"0( ;)+=8"(%$/?;V

The natuie of attacks on Nuslim (as well as Chiistian) places of woiship uiffeis maikeuly
fiom attacks against Buuuhist anu Binuu ieligious places. In some cases the peipetiatois
have been veiy open about theii motives foi taigeting a place of woiship. These attacks aie
pait of a bioauei anti-Nuslim agenua, pieuominantly fiom Sinhala-Buuuhist gioups.
Recent months have seen an intensification of the anti-Nuslim campaign, incluuing the call
foi boycott of Nuslim-owneu shops anu halal piouucts. It neeus to be noteu that the attacks
on ieligious places aie sometimes tieu to socio-economic anu political inteiests, incluuing
ovei lanu.
The list of attacks on Nuslim ieligious places uiscusseu heie aie not exhaustive. Theie have
been limiteu iecoius of attacks maintaineu by some inuiviuuals anu oiganisations, with
some cases ieceiving meuia publicity. Theie is also veiy limiteu uiscussion of intia-
community violence anu intimiuation, which is a seiious issue that neeus to be auuiesseu.

The teim motheilanu in iefeience to Nuslims has often been useu as pait of hate-speech to mean Nuslim countiies, inuicating that
Nuslims have no place in Sii Lanka (Inteiview with an official of a Nuslim aiu oiganisation, 0ctobei 2u12).
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page EG
8/&" (- !""#$%& () F1&+/D *+#$,& (- 2(3&4/5


Z1+; =EV J,31U#+#V \#+1"#3# I/&"3/$": Two iival Nuslim gioups fiom the Tawheeu anu Taiiqa gioups
clasheu at the Rahuman Nasjiu Buhaii Nosque in Beiuwela uuiing a tiauitional feast, leaving two ueau, 4u
people injuieu anu the histoiic Buhaii Nosque uamageu. The clashes eiupteu ovei ciitical iemaiks maue
by an Imam at the Nosque, which is associateu with the Taiiqa gioup, against the Tawheeu gioup. As many
as 1S1 suspects weie aiiesteu following the attack. A police cuifew was imposeu in ceitain aieas of
Beiuwela fiom 6am the next uay foi 24 houis.


7,5",D@,3 KV !)13#I4#513# "(U)V !)13#I4#513# I/&"3/$": A Suu yeai olu Nuslim shiine was
uestioyeu by a mob of ovei a 1uu people iepoiteuly leu by Buuuhist monks. The uestiuction was wiuely
iepoiteu as being speaiheaueu by a Buuuhist monk veneiable Amatha Bhamma Theio who is quoteu as
saying that the shiine was uestioyeu because local Nuslims weie tiying to tuin the shiine into a Nosque,
anu that the shiine was on lanu given to the Sinhala Buuuhists 2,uuu yeais ago. Photogiaphic eviuence
shows police piesent at the inciuent but they uiu not inteivene to stop the attack. The police claimeu that
they weie not piesent anu that they uiu not ieceive any complaints.


!53/+ =LV T#D@1++#V F#"#+, I/&"3/$": A gioup of about 2,uuu people allegeuly leu by the Nahanayaka of
the Rangiii Bambulla Chaptei veneiable Inamaluwe Sumangala Theio, foicefully enteieu the Su yeai olu
Nasjiuul Kaiiiya Nosque, which the gioup claimeu was illegal. Fiiuay piayeis at the mosque hau to be
abanuoneu, anu the mosque was evacuateu unuei police piotection. The mosque was iepoiteu to have
then been vanualiseu - copies of the Quian anu the cupboaius they weie kept in weie saiu to have been
uamageu. The mosque also came unuei a petiol bomb attack in the eaily houis of the moining pieceuing
the mob violence. Theie weie no casualties but the builuing was iepoiteu to have been slightly uamageu.
Tiustees of the Nosque say they have legal uocuments ielating to its constiuction. Although the Nosque is
saiu to have been at the site foi 6u yeais, it was iegisteieu just a few yeais ago. Sii Lanka's Piime Ninistei
anu Ninistei of Religious Affaiis B.N. }ayaiatne oiueieu the Nosque to be ielocateu following the attack.

Resiuents living in the aiea weie since issueu letteis in Septembei 2u12 by the 0iban Bevelopment
Authoiity to vacate as theii houses weie within a uesignateu sacieu aiea. Accoiuing to the lettei, alteinate
lanus weie to be pioviueu along the Kanualama Roau in Polwatta. Notice hau been issueu to S2 houses anu
2S shops.

F#; =EV T,4/U,+#V 9(+(D@( I/&"3/$"Q 0vei 2Su piotesteis allegeuly leu by some Buuuhist monks stageu a

R. Wijewaiuene, 'Schism', The Sunuay Leauei, 2 August 2uu9: http:¡¡www.thesunuayleauei.lk¡2uu9u8u2¡spotlight-1.htm; Noiman
Palihawauana, 'Satuiuay's attack on Nasjiuul Rahuman mosque in Beiuwela histoiy cieateu as 1S1 iemanueu foi one inciuent,' Islanu,
28 }uly 2uu9, http:¡¡www.islanu.lk¡2uu9¡u7¡28¡news1.html
'Sii Lanka Buuuhist Nonks Bestioy Nuslim Shiine,' BBC, 1S Septembei 2u11,http:¡¡www.bbc.co.uk¡news¡woilu-south-asia-

'Beeus of mosque in Bambulla anu photos of uamage: Bow is this stiuctuie illegal.', uiounuviews, 24 Apiil 2u12,
http:¡¡giounuviews.oig¡2u12¡u4¡24¡ueeu-of-mosque-in-uambulla-anu-photos-of-uamage-how-is-this-stiuctuie-illegal¡ ; 'Sii Lanka
Buuuhists uisiupt mosque piayeis', Al }azeeia, 2u Apiil 2u12,
http:¡¡www.aljazeeia.com¡news¡asia¡2u12¡u4¡2u1242u1uSS29861814.html, 'Sii Lanka mosque foiceu to abanuon piayeis by
piotesteis', BBC, 2uApiil 2u12, http:¡¡www.bbc.co.uk¡news¡woilu-asia-17781S72

Azia Ameen, 'Bambulla Resiuents Eviction 0iuei,' Ceylon Touay, 29 Septembei 2u12; 'Beeus of mosque in Bambulla anu photos of
uamage: Bow is this stiuctuie illegal.', uiounuviews, 24 Apiil 2u12, http:¡¡giounuviews.oig¡2u12¡u4¡24¡ueeu-of-mosque-in-
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page E=
uemonstiation against Nauiasa 'Baiul- Qui'an lil Baianil Iman chaiging that it was illegal anu a place
wheie goats weie saciificeu. The mob thiew stones anu iotten meat ovei the gate at the mauaiasa
uemanuing its closuie. A membei of the Tiustee Boaiu of the Nauiasa was quoteu as saying that the
location hau been useu foi 1S yeais as a place useu to teach chiluien about the ieligion anu that it has the
iequiieu legal papeis. The Behiwela-Nt Lavinia Nunicipal Council saiu that they hau ieceiveu complaints
fiom a gioup of Buuuhist monks iegaiuing the legality of the constiuction anu it has summoneu the centie
to couit.

!101&" G=V *#<<#%(I/$4$4,)#/V J#""/$#+(# I/&"3/$"Q The Nohiueen }ummah Nosque in the 0nnichai
village was buineu to the giounu by a gioup at Sam, while houses in the aiea hau also been uamageu.
Theie weie accusations that TNvP cauies may be involveu in the inciuent, although this is contesteu.

!101&" >LV \(4/+#U#"",V 2,++#D5/"/;#V 9(+(D@( I/&"3/$"Q The Nohiueen }umma Nosque was attackeu
sustaining uamage to the louuspeakei, sounu system. The Nuezzin anu a tiustee of the Nosque weie also
attackeu. Police have iepoiteuly aiiesteu two people.

S$"(@,3 =MV F#+U#"41 S;#V 7/)4# O#)1U#V !)13#I4#513# I/&"3/$"Q The insiue of the Thakka Nosque at
Nalwathu Lane was buint by uniuentifieu people at about 2.Suam on the uay of the Eiu-ul-Auha festival. A
foimal complaint was maue to police by the tiustees of the Nosque. 0n }anuaiy 9
2u1S, a gioup incluuing
Buuuhist cleigy caiiieu out a piotest uemanuing that the mosque be iemoveu.

](<,D@,3 L=V ?4,+1D@10(++#V ./I4,,0#D# _/++#0,V 31),0#+# I/&"3/$": The Thakweeth }ama Ath
Nosque begun by the Tawheeu }amaat in the Riuheegama village was uamageu following clashes between
its membeis anu local people, who weie also allegeuly Nuslims fiom the village. 18 people weie iepoiteu
to have been injuieu.


Z#)1#3; >GV \#)I; ?(U)V \#)I; T/&"3/$"Q An uniuentifieu peison¡gioup of people uefaceu a wall of the
Neeia Nakkam mosque in Kanuy town in the eaily houis of the moining on }anuaiy S1
with an appaient
thieat against Nuslims. Wiitten on the wall weie the woius in Sinhala, "haiiyata hitapang. Nehe Sinhala
iata yako," (Loosely tianslateu to "Behave piopeily! This is a Sinhala countiy, you uevils"). Tiustees of the
mosque aie iepoiteu to have maue a complaint to the police.

}oseph Bammonu, 'Nuslims 0nuei Seige', Baily FT, Su }une 2u12: http:¡¡www.ft.lk¡2u12¡u6¡Su¡muslims-unuei-siege¡, Azia Ameen,
'Buuuhists monks anu villages piotest,' Ceylon Touay, 26 Nay 2u12, http:¡¡www.ceylontouay.lk¡16-687S-news-uetail-buuuhists-monks-

'Steps take to ienovate mosque anu houses uestioyeu by fiie', Lanka Sii, 1S August 2u12; 'Nosque in 0nnichchai set on fiie,'
(Tianslation fiom Tamil), Suuai 0li,1S August 2u12; Also, viueo souice by 'Knowleuge Box - Batticaloa Nuslims Cuiient Situation' at
http:¡¡www.youtube.com¡watch.v=KjCAmBBCNqY; Inciuent also confiimeu by iepoits fiom Nuslim ieligious oiganisations.

Inteiviews with ieligious anu community oiganizations between Septembei anu 0ctobei 2u12

Lanka Sii, 0ctobei 27, 2u12 Nosque set on fiie in Anuiauhapuia, anu iepoits fiom a community membei; Tamil uuaiuian, 'Buuuhist
Nonks Bemonstiate Bemanuing Removal of Nosque.Again,' 1u }anuaiy 2u1S:

'Clash between two gioups uamage a mosque,' (Tianslation fiom Tamil), veeiakesaii, S Novembei 2u12; A photogiaph of the
uamageu mosque was also caiiieu in the veeiakesaii, 4 Novembei 2u12; Also, iepoits fiom Nuslims inteivieweu foi this iepoit ,
Septembei anu 0ctobei 2u12.

Infoimation obtaineu fiom a Nuslim aiu oiganisation in Febiuaiy 2u1S
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page E>
?3,)I& /) !""#$%& #)I .,+#",I H)$/I,)"&

Physical attacks on Nuslim ieligious places uo not appeai to be iestiicteu to paiticulai
geogiaphical locations, but all cases iepoiteu heie have been outsiue the Noith, with
Colombo anu Anuiauhapuia uistiicts iecoiuing moie than one inciuent uuiing this peiiou.
Some of the iepoiteu attacks have been pieceueu by thieats anu intimiuation. In auuition
to the physical stiuctuies being uamageu oi even uestioyeu uuiing these attacks,
seivices have been uisiupteu, piotests have been helu outsiue ieligious places, anu people
have been waineu not to piay in some centies. Foi instance, Buuuhist monks fiom a temple
in the aiea aie allegeu to have enteieu the Al Akiam Nosque, Aiiyawatte, Kuiunegala
mosque on Nay 2S
2u12 anu conuucteu Buuuhist ieligious seivices insiue.
In anothei
inciuent, a gioup of people incluuing a Buuuhist monk aie allegeu to have enteieu the
mosque - Nakuluwewa Al-Akiam Thakiya Nosque, Beuuiuoyagama in Wellawa Police
Bivision anu tiieu to pievent Nuslims fiom peifoiming ieligious obseivances uuiing
Ramazan on }uly 24
2u12. The IuP of the aiea was infoimeu.
These inciuents have
taken place in a context that incluues anti-Nuslim piotests anu hate speech, which have
been uisseminateu thiough hanubills, leaflets anu websites. Some of the mosques anu
shiines that have been attackeu have been in existence foi uecaues.
While investigations in many of these attacks aie continuing, in some attacks, the
peipetiatois aie not unknown anu in otheis, gioups have claimeu iesponsibility. Noie
than half of the attacks have allegeuly been caiiieu out by Buuuhist gioups, sometimes
incluuing membeis of the Buuuhist cleigy. Some of these gioups have opposeu ieligious
stiuctuies of othei faiths in the vicinity of Buuuhist temples, in some public spaces
consiueieu sacieu to Buuuhists, as well as on piivate lanus in aieas peiceiveu by them to
be in aieas that aie pieuominantly Buuuhist. Foi instance, the Sinhala Ravaya oiganisation
have claimeu iesponsibility foi the attack on the shiine in Anuiauhapuia, as well as the
attack on a mosque in Behiwela, on theii official website -www.sinhalaiavaya.com.
Bowevei as of }anuaiy Su
2u1S, this website no longei seems to function. Bowevei theii
Facebook page continues to be active.
Leaflets anu hanubills with inflammatoiy content
anu signeu by 'cleigy anu laymen patiiots' was uistiibuteu in 2u11 weeks befoie the attack
on a Nuslim shiine in Anuiauhapuia. The leaflets call foi a 'ieawakening' of a Sinhala
Buuuhist nation, foi mosques (anu chuiches) establisheu on 'Buuuhist heiitage sites' to be
uestioyeu immeuiately, to stop animal slaughtei, boycott Nuslim shops anu businesses,

See table of attacks eailiei in this chaptei.

Latheef Faiook, 'Is Sii Lanka heauing towaius anothei }uly 8S.,' Sunuay Times, 1u }une 2u12,

Inteiviews with community leaueis anu oiganisations, Septembei anu 0ctobei 2u12.

Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

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anu foibiuuing intei-maiiiage with Nuslims. It also wains Nuslims to be ieauy foi a
'ieligious wai.'
Bence, in some of these inciuents it is impoitant to take note of the wiuei
context anu the inciuents pieceuing anu aftei the inciuent to get a bettei unueistanuing of
what is happening anu its impact. 0f the eight cases listeu heie, thiee show a cleai
involvement of Sinhala Buuuhist gioups anu Buuuhist cleigy, two aie intia-ieligious
attacks, in one case membeis of a Tamil political gioup aie suspecteu, while in the
iemaining cases, peipetiatois have not been iuentifieu, although theie weie inciuents
leauing up to the inciuent oi aftei in at least two of the cases wheie Buuuhist gioups hau
piotesteu against the mosque.
As uemonstiateu in the list of inciuents above, theie have been a few inciuents of intia-
Nuslim violence. The inciuents of vanualism anu violence ieflect continuing tensions
between mainstieam Sunni Nuslim gioups anu gioups such as 'tiauitional Nuslims,' Sufis
oi Ahmauiyyas. Theie have also been conflicts between factions that pieach a moie
oithouox inteipietation of Islam veisus moie moueiate inteipietations. Foi instance, moie
oithouox gioups such as the Tawheeu }amaat have come unuei incieaseu sciutiny, anu
even attack in some cases. 0ithouox Islamic gioups have been accuseu of tiying to
piopagate an extiemist inteipietation of Islam, anu of haiassment anu even violence
against Nuslims seen to be moie Sufi oi tiauitionalist.
The gioups seen to be moie
'tiauitional' have also been accuseu of haiassment anu intimiuation of the oithouox gioups.
Theie aie also inuiviuual cases of peisons being haiasseu by oithouox gioups in theii
communities foi allegeu actions oi statements. 0n }une 29
2u11 two giils in Kathankuuy
weie subjecteu to violence at the Nosque Feueiation Builuing foi iepoiteuly looking at
poinogiaphy in an inteinet café,
a chaige which they uenieu. The Nosque Feueiation
subsequently ietiacteu the allegations anu exoneiateu the two giils in a public
announcement, following a couit oiuei.

Some of the inciuents iepoiteu appeai to be tiiggeieu by peiceiveu insult such as a visible
flouting of ieligious customs, oi a seimon seen as being offensive to the ieligious piactices
of one gioup. Foi instance, on August 26
2u12, a supeimaiket in 0kwatte, ualle uistiict
was set ablaze following clashes between two iival Nuslim gioups belonging to the
Tawheeu anu Taiiqa factions, ovei buiial iites uuiing a funeial. The authoiities have on
occasion become involveu, paiticulaily when the uisputes tuin violent. Bowevei they have
also maue othei inteiventions. In eaily 2u12, Sii Lanka's Bepaitment of Immigiation

Copies of the leaflets weie obtaineu by the CPA.

'0nholy Tensions in Lanka's Nuslim East,' The Sunuay Times, 16 August 2uu9.

'Sii Lanka mosques exoneiate 'poinogiaphy giils',' BBC News South Asia, 29 }une 2u11, http:¡¡www.bbc.co.uk¡news¡woilu-south-

'Sii Lanka mosques exoneiate 'poinogiaphy giils',' BBC News South Asia, 29 }une 2u11, http:¡¡www.bbc.co.uk¡news¡woilu-south-
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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oiueieu 161 membeis of the Tablighi }amaat gioup to leave the countiy foi flouting visa
iegulations. Theie weie also complaints that the pieacheis weie not teaching a moueiate
foim of Islam.
The Tablighi }amaat gioup is known to be laigely apolitical but pieaches
an oithouox inteipietation of the ieligion. The Ahmauiyya movement, which saw an attack
on its mosque in Negombo anu two iecoiueu inciuents of its membeis being killeu piioi to
the enu of wai,
has saiu that it has not suffeieu attacks on its places of woiship in the
post-wai peiiou.
In geneial it uoes appeai that the inciuents of violence within the
Nuslim community that is peiceiveu to be intia-ieligious have ielatively ieuuceu when
compaieu to a peak in 2uu6-2uu7.
Bowevei, this neeus to also be vieweu in light of
uifficulties in obtaining infoimation on inciuents of intia-ieligious violence.

S"4,3 *,3$,5"/()& (- ?43,#" #)I H)&,$13/";

Nany of the conceins highlighteu by inteiviewees anu inciuents that have taken place since
Nay 2uu9 aie not necessaiily unique to the post-wai peiiou. While the thieats faceu by the
Nuslim community in teims of ieligious fieeuoms may be similai to othei communities,
both in teims of the scale anu intensity of the inciuents it appeais that the last yeai in
paiticulai has seen an upsuige in violence anu othei challenges to the Nuslim community,
paiticulaily in the South of the countiy.
O#", &5,,$4 #)I #)"/6F1&+/D $#D5#/0)&Q Bowevei, inteiviews foi this iepoit inuicate an
emphasis on anti-Nuslim ihetoiic by inuiviuuals, cleigy, anu gioups, in public anu piivate
meuia as well as online. Nuslims have been accuseu of unethical conveisions of people
thiough euucation, intei-maiiiage anu the oiganiseu puichase of lanu aiounu Buuuhist
places of woiship.
The Repoit of the Commission to Inquiie into 0nethical Conveisions
of Sii Lankan Buuuhists
talks of a ievival of funuamentalist Islam, which it says is
eviuenceu by moie Nuslims auopting oithouox attiie, among othei uevelopments.

'Sii Lanka expels 161 Nuslim Pieacheis', BBC, 22 }anuaiy 2u12, http:¡¡www.bbc.co.uk¡news¡woilu-asia-1667Su86

The Nasjiu Fazl mosque of the Ahmauiyya community in Peiiyamulla, Negombo was iepoiteuly attackeu by a gioup of mainstieam
Sunni Nuslims fiom the aiea in 2uu7, anu theii woiship seivices uisiupteu. The Ahmauiyya }amaat Sii Lanka have also iepoiteu two
inciuents of its membeis being killeu allegeuly by Sunni Nuslim gioups - Shaheeu Rasheeu Ahmeu on }une 27,1979 in Negombo anu
Shaheeu Abuullah Niyas Ahmeu on 0ctobei 14, 2uu6, also in Negombo. The Ahmauiyya community has five bianches in Colombo,
Negombo, Pasyala, Puttalam anu Polannaiuwa.

Inteiview with an official of the Ahmauiyya Nuslim }amaat, Septembei 2u12

The limiteu cases also ieflect a uifficulty in obtaining infoimation fiom minoiity Nuslim sects anu the numbei of inciuents may oi may
not be highei than iepoiteu.

Inteiviews with Buuuhist cleigy in Septembei anu 0ctobei 2u12

5"9+(= +4 =8" >+))0330+/ $99+0/="? =+ K/]60(" $/? 5"9+(= +/ =8" >+/."(30+/ +4 U6??803=3 0/ :(0 !$/,$ =+ Y=8"( 5"%0#0+/3 AB K))+($% $/?
'($6?6%"/= J"$/3 DEE^, (English tianslation publisheu in 2u12), All Ceylon Buuuhists Congiess.

Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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Instances of anti-Nuslim hate speech pieceuing attacks on mosques anu othei ieligious
places weie also uiscusseu eailiei. Theie have been posteis both online anu placaius
uenigiating Nuslim ieligious symbols. Theie have also been piotests on inteinational
issues wheie Nuslims aie allegeu to be involveu in violence against Buuuhists in othei
countiies but also on local issues. 0n 0ctobei 2S
2u12 Bouu Bala Sena conuucteu a
piotest in Bauulla town against the conveision anu vanualism of Buuuhist heiitage in
Banglauesh anu the thieat to Bouh uaya, Inuia by the Nujahiueen teiioiist gioup.
This anti-Nuslim campaign manifesteu in a vaiiety of ways, with a numbei of Sinhala
Buuuhist gioups playing a veiy public iole. The iauical Sinhala-Buuuhist gioup Bouhu Bala
Sena leu by Buuuhist cleigy have openly calleu foi a boycott of 'halal' consumei piouucts,
which aie associateu with Nuslims. ueneial Secietaiy of the Bouhu Bala Sena veneiable
ualagouaththe unanasaia is quoteu as saying that "if Nuslim people want halal goous they
can buy it fiom theii mosque," anu have thieateneu an islanu-wiue campaign to get people
to ieject halal piouucts.
The anti-halal campaign also has a stiong-online piesence with
Facebook gioups anu pages.
Theie have been a numbei of piotests against halal
incluuing in Kuliyapitiya, Kuiunegala uistiict anu in Embilipitiya, Ratnapuia uistiict on
Becembei 2S
In auuition to the boycott of halal piouucts these online gioups anu
otheis like Bouu Bala Sena also call foi the boycott of Nuslim-owneu companies such as
No-Limit anu Fashion Bug.
Piotests outsiue the No-Limit stoie in Nahaiagama on
}anuaiy 19
weie wiuely attiibuteu to the gioup, but the oiganisation has since uenieu
theii involvement in the inciuent.
Theie have been othei piotests such in Kulliyapitiya
on }anuaiy 24
2u1S against Balal labeleu foous.

Even while the piotests might be caiiieu out a ielatively small numbei of peisons, theie
aie iepoits that ovei eaily 2u1S theie has been a knock on impact on Nuslim owneu

Sujith Bewajulige, 'Piouucts with Balal Bianuing Shoulu Be Boycotteu', Lankaueepa, 2u Novembei 2u12

These pages can be accesseu; https:¡¡www.facebook.com¡piotectbuuuhismlk; https:¡¡www.facebook.com¡soiiy.comsuc;
https:¡¡www.facebook.com¡sinhala.buuuhist.gioup_iu=u; https:¡¡www.facebook.com¡hela.uayakkaiaya;
https:¡¡www.facebook.com¡sinhalayagehaua2u12; https:¡¡www.facebook.com¡sinhalaiawayapage;
%Eu%B7%84%Eu%B6%AC¡S44286468916S12.fief=pb; https:¡¡www.facebook.com¡mahasohon.fief=pb

'Sii Lanka Buuuhist monks piotest Balal ceitificate,' Colombopage, 2S Becembei 2u12,
http:¡¡www.colombopage.com¡aichive_12B¡Bec2S_1SS64S9968KA.php , ubs.jeyaiaj, 'Bela Sihila Biiu Stages Piovocative Anti-Nuslim
Bemonstiation with Placaius anu Effigy of "Allah" in Noith-Westein town of Kuliyapitiya,' 28 }anuaiy 2u1S,

Refei to the following link,

'The Slow Spieau 0f Biscoiu,' Sunuay Leauei, uS Febiuaiy 2u1S, http:¡¡www.thesunuayleauei.lk¡2u1S¡u2¡uS¡the-slow-spieau-of-

"Bouu Bala Sena piotest", Baily Niiioi online, 2S 0ctobei 2u12, http:¡¡www.uailymiiioi.lk¡caption-stoiy¡22961-bouu-bala-sena-
piotest.html; ubsjeyaiaj, "Bela Sihila Biiu" Stages Piovocative Anti-Nuslim Bemonstiation with Placaius anu Effigy of "Allah" in Noith-
Westein town of Kuliyapitiya," ubsjeyaiaj, 28 }anuaiy 2u1S, http:¡¡ubsjeyaiaj.com¡ubsj¡aichives¡1S264

Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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businesses anu that this economic boycott is spieauing, which will have multiple
iepeicussions both in teims of the Nuslim community but also foi Nuslim-Sinhala
ielations. The steauy anu seemingly uncheckeu giowth of this campaign has incieaseu
feais within the Nuslim community that the piotests, inuiviuual inciuents of violence
against builuings anu the hate speech coulu incite wiuespieau violence. The spectie of the
191S 'Sinhala-Nuslim iiots' has been iaiseu both within the community but also by Sinhala
Buuuhists incluuing the }B0 politician, 0uaya uammanpila.

94#++,)0,& "( $#33;/)0 (1" 3,+/0/(1& 53#$"/$,&Q A numbei of Nuslim inuiviuuals anu
gioups who weie inteivieweu iepoiteu a geneial sense of being besiegeu by thieats anu
attacks on theii iuentity anu faith. They also claimeu that theie was a geneial
misunueistanuing of ieligious piactices associateu with Islam. Some piayei seivices have
been uisiupteu, piotests have been helu outsiue ieligious places, anu people have been
waineu not to piay in some centies.
0n }uly 29
2u12 in Rajagiiiya in the Colombo
uistiict, a gioup of people tiieu to foicefully entei the }amiyathul Baiul Iman mosque while
ieligious piayeis obseiveu uuiing Ramazan weie taking place. Bue to feai of fuithei
attacks, piayei seivices at this centie have since been stoppeu.
Some gioups also say
that they have little piactical suppoit fiom the apex Ninistiy of Buuuha Sasana anu
Religious Affaiis. In a lettei uateu August u2
2u12, the Bepaitment of Nuslim Religious
anu Cultuial Affaiis oiueieu the Baiul Akiam Nauiasa in Behiwela to stop its activities
because it was an outwaiuly visible place of woiship anu its ieligious obseivances coulu
leau to a uisiuption of ieligious haimony in the aiea.
The killing of animals as a saciifice uuiing ceitain times of the yeai,
a piactice commonly
associateu with Nuslims, has been opposeu by some sections of Buuuhists as well as
animal iights activists. Animal saciifice as a piactice is not unknown among othei
communities as well, foi instance at Sinhala =8+.0%
anu at the kovil in Nunneswaian.

In a weekly column on the Ceylon Touay Ninistei 0uaya uammanpila was quoteu saying, "As someone who has stuuieu the Sinhala -
Nuslim clashes in 191S, I stiongly feel a iepetition of that uisastei is imminent. The piomotion of Balal piouucts, unauthoiiseu mosques
anu oiganising competitions to leain Islam foi non-Nuslim chiluien aie among the piesent uay causes. The latest auuition to the list is
the Law Entiance Exam iesults." (0uaya uammanpila, "Avoiuing a iepeat of what happeneu 1uu yeais ago.," Ceylon Touay, 2u }anuaiy
2u1S, http:¡¡www.ceylontouay.lk¡76-22299-news-uetail-avoiuing-a-iepeat-of-what-happeneu-1uu-yeais-ago.html )

Nay 2S, 2u12 - Al Akiam Nosque, Aiiyawatte, Kuiunegala: Buuuhist monks fiom a temple in the aiea aie allegeu to have enteieu the
mosque anu conuucteu Buuuhist ieligious seivices insiue. No action was taken by the mosque (Inteiview with Nuslim civil society actoi,
0ctobei 2u12).
}uly 24, 2u12 - Nakuluwewa Al-Akiam Thakiya Nosque, Beuuiuoyagama, Wellawa Police Bivision: A gioup of people incluuing a
Buuuhist monk aie allegeu to have enteieu the mosque anu tiieu to pievent Nuslims fiom peifoiming ieligious obseivances uuiing
Ramazan. The IuP of the aiea was infoimeu.
(Souice: Inteiviews with community leaueis anu oiganisations between Septembei anu 0ctobei 2u12)

Inteiviews with Nuslim community oiganisations between Septembei anu 0ctobei 2u12

Animals, usually goats anu cattle, aie tiauitionally saciificeu by Nuslims uuiing the Bajj Festival, also calleu Eiu 0l Auha.

In some =8+.0% oi exoicism ceiemonies caiiieu out laigely by membeis of the Sinhala community chickens aie saciificeu.

See Chaptei on Attacks against Binuu Places of Woiship on page --
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Buiing the Iu-0l-Auha oi Bajj festival in 0ctobei 2u12, Piaueshiya Sabhas (local
goveinment offices) in some aieas of the Cential Piovince have iepoiteuly not issueu
peimits foi animal slaughtei, effectively cuitailing the iitual that takes place at this time.

In Septembei 2u12 the Kanuy Nunicipal Council is also iepoiteu to have passeu a
iesolution banning animal slaughtei within municipal council limits.

The issue of conveision to Islam has also been a sensitive issue. In a wiuely publiciseu case,
Buuuhist conveit to Islam Saia Nalani Peieia was uetaineu by Sii Lankan authoiities on
Naich 2u
2u1u on a Su uay uetention oiuei fiom the Befence Ninistiy foi wiiting two
books about hei conveision in 1999, which was allegeuly offensive to Buuuhism.
aie also accusations leveleu against Sinhalese claiming that theie is oiganiseu conveision
of Nuslims thiough intei-maiiiage.
The heau scaif (hijab) anu face coveiing (niqab)
have also come back into focus, with Sinhala newspapeis foi instance iunning polls as to
whethei the lattei shoulu be banneu
anu with inuiviuual inciuents being iepoiteu of
Nuslim giils with scaives being haiasseu.
8#)I I/&51",& #)I "4, ,</$"/() (- F1&+/D& -3(D W&#$3,I #3,#&WQ In some aieas the
physical violence is accompanieu by othei measuies to push out a Nuslim piesence fiom
paiticulai aieas. Both in Bambulla anu Anuiauhapuia theie aie effoits to ueclaie them as
'sacieu aieas'. The iuentification of these aieas as sacieu aieas is also combineu with uiban
uevelopment anu cultuial piotection, hence Nuslim ieligious places anu even iesiuents
have faceu both legal anu extia-legal piocesses to evict them fiom these aieas. Foi instance
in Bambulla, following the attack on the Nasjiuul Khaiiiya Nosque, people in the aiea weie
issueu eviction notices fiom the 0BA to vacate the aiea by the enu of 0ctobei 2u12 on the
basis of the aiea being sacieu. In inteiviews foi this iepoit, Nuslims in Anuiauhapuia
iepoit opposition to them settling within town limits, with uemanus foi people anu some

Piaueshiya Sabhas in Baiispattuwa in Katugastota anu Poojapitiya in the Natale uistiict have iepoiteuly stoppeu issuing peimits foi
animal slaughtei, although business peimits to sell meat in these aieas have been given. (Inteiview with a Nuslim lawyei fiom Kanuy in
Novembei 2u12).

'Cattle slaughtei banneu,' Sunuay 0bseivei, Su Septembei 2u12, http:¡¡www.sunuayobseivei.lk¡2u12¡u9¡Su¡new6u.asp; L.B
Senaiatne, 'Kanuy NC bans animal slaughtei within city limits,' Baily Niiioi, 26 Septembei2u12.

Saia Nalani Peieia was aiiesteu unuei the countiy's tough emeigency law - the Pievention of Teiioiism Act, anu was ieleaseu on
bail on Apiil 2u
2u1u. She is a Sii Lankan oiigin Bahiaini iesiuent anu was on holiuay in Sii Lanka when she was aiiesteu by the
Wellampitiya police befoie being hanueu ovei to the Niiihana police. Repoits say hei books 'Fiom Baikness to Light' anu 'Questions anu
Answeis' weie being piinteu in Sii Lanka anu was being maileu oveiseas. The aiiest was allegeuly maue following a tip-off by an
employee at the caigo company hanuling the books. The chaiges weie uioppeu in Nay 2u11. (FaiookThajuueen, 'Conveit Saia Releaseu
on Bail', Baily Niiioi, Apiil 2u, 2u1u: http:¡¡www.uailymiiioi.lk¡inuex.php¡news¡S22S-conveit-saia-ieleaseu-on-bail-.html ; 'Authoi
Saia Nalini Peieia Belu 'foi .0ffenuing Buuuhists' in Sii Lanka,' CNN iRepoit, 16 Apiil 2u1u; 'Sii Lankan Nuslim Conveit To Be Tiieu
0nuei Emeigency Law,' BikyaNasi, 16 Nay 2u1u, http:¡¡bikyamasi.com¡woiupiess¡.p=1261u; SunanuaBeshapiiya, 'Lawyeis Beny
Betaineu Sii Lankan Authoi Linkeu to Islamist Nilitants, Blames Religious Bias, Fieeuom of Expiession on Sii Lanka,' by
SunanuaBeshapiiya (blog), S Apiil 2u1u: http:¡¡sunanuaueshapiiya.woiupiess.com¡tag¡saiah-malini-peieia¡).

Inteiview with a teachei anu community membei fiom a village in Anuiauhapuia, 0ctobei 2u12

' Ban the buiqa,' Ceylon Touay, 17 Febiuaiy 2u1S, http:¡¡www.ceylontouay.lk¡16-24S4S-news-uetail-ban-the-buiqa.html;
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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places of woiship to be ielocateu. In 2u11, lanu that was uue to be given to 2uu families
ielocateu out of Kuiunegala }unction in Anuiauhapuia, has insteau iepoiteuly been useu
foi uevelopment of a Bhikku 0niveisity foi female Buuuhist monks.
That the 0BA is
involveu in some of these ielocations iaises conceins that theie is a conceiteu effoit both
by iauical Sinhalese anu the uoveinment to evict Nuslim families fiom the centie of
specific towns anu cities.
The issue of lanu is a key souice of contention. In Kanuy town theie have been accusations
levelleu against Buuuhist cleigy anu otheis being involveu in attempts to seize lanu oi
foice inuiviuuals anu tiaueis to sign new agieements with iepiesentatives of paiticulai
Buuuhist uevales oi temples, on the basis that the lanu oiiginally belongeu to the

T:+)"=0)"3 9+%02" $22+)9$/B =8"3" )+/,3 =+ =8"3" 9%$2"3 $/? $3, 4+( ?""?3V W8"B +/%B
=$%, $A+6= 6/$6=8+(03"? 3=(62=6("3 0/ J63%0) $("$3V W8"(" 03 /+ 9+0/= 0/ )$,0/#
2+)9%$0/=3 =+ =8" 9+%02" +( 2+6(=3C A"2$63" =8" )"/=$%0=B +4 =8" 9"+9%" +( =8" 9+%02" 03
/+= #+0/# =+ 28$/#"VT

.,&"3/$"/()& () $()&"31$"/() (- 3,+/0/(1& 5+#$,&Q Relateu to these attacks has been the
attempt to use inuiiect means such as uoveinment iegulations to contiol the constiuction
anu activities of ieligious places. uoveinment iegulations have been useu selectively by
gioups leauing the attack, to uemanu the iemoval of existing places of woiship, anu
iestiictions on the constiuction of mosques anu othei ieligious places. Theie aie
accusation that some Nuslim gioups set up mosques anu mauiasas without notifying the
authoiities. Theie is no legal iequiiement to iegistei new oi existing places of woiship,
although foi constiuction of places of woiship peimission is iequiieu. In attacks howevei,
peipetiatois leauing the attack have often uemanueu pioof of iegistiation anu useu the
lack theieof to claim illegality, justify thieats anu attacks. The attack on the Bambulla
Nasjiuul Khaiiiya Nosque also saw allegations that it was an unauthoiiseu constiuction,
although the Nosque has been in existence foi ovei 6u yeais.
Inteiviews foi this iepoit
say that the 2uu8 Ciiculai which iequiies peimission fiom the Ninistiy of Buuuha Sasana

In a case uating back to the 198u's, mostly Nuslim anu few Sinhala families weie to be ielocateu fiom Kuiunegala junction in
Anuiauhapuia to a lanu in Nalwattu 0ya. 0vei time, the case took on communal anu ieligious oveitones, culminating in the uestiuction
of houses at Kuiunegala junction anu its takeovei by the militaiy, the uemolition of the Sikkanuei 0liulla Bhaiga in the same aiea, anu
the takeovei of the alteinate lanu in Nalwattu 0ya to set up a Bhikku univeisity foi female Buuuhist monks. (Inteiview with a jouinalist
fiom Anuiauhapuia who has maintaineu iecoius of the case, 0ctobei 2u12.)

Inteiview with a lawyei fiom the Kanuy uistiict, Novembei 2u12; some inciuents have been iepoiteu fiom Peiaueniya Roau anu
William uoppallawa Nawatha in Kanuy. Some people claim to have liveu in the aiea foi uecaues anu claim to holu ueeus foi the uisputeu

Inteiview with a lawyei fiom the Kanuy uistiict, Novembei 2u12

Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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anu Religious Affaiis to builu new ieligious places has iestiicteu constiuction of new
mosques in piactice.
As one inteiviewee saiu, "It is now impossible to put up a mosque oi even a Nuslim
ieligious school in a multi-ieligious, multi-ethnic aiea because people in those aieas uon't
like it."
This seems to stem laigely fiom a feai of 'Nuslim expansion' anu a suspicion of
Nuslims socio-ieligious piactices in geneial. Nuslims aie accuseu mostly by Buuuhist
gioups of changing the uemogiaphy of the countiy thiough theii high fecunuity. The iecent
all-islanu census foi instance has iaiseu ieneweu conceins that the Nuslim population is
giowing at a fastei iate than othei communities.
Theie aie also feais that Islam will
spieau iapiuly uue to a iesuigence of inteiest in oithouox foims of the ieligion anu the
mushiooming of mosques anu ieligious centies.
T78"/ J63%0)3 3=$(= $ J$?($3$ 0/ $ /"0#8A+6(8++?C 9"+9%" 4"$( =8$= 0= *0%% ?"."%+9
0/=+ $ )+3]6" $/? 3+ 9"+9%" 3=$(= 9(+="3=0/#V W8"(" 03 /+= )628 2+/36%=$=0+/ 4+( =8"3"
2+/3=(62=0+/3C )+3= +4 =8") $(" 0%%"#$% $/? =8"B ?+/;= 3"", $99(+.$% 4(+) %+2$%
$6=8+(0=0"3V 78"/ )$/B +4 =8"3" 9"+9%" NJ63%0)3O 2+)" =+ =8" )+3]6"3C =8"B $("
$((+#$/=C =8"B $(" /+= ?03209%0/"?C =8"B 3%$6#8="( $/0)$%3V :+ 6/4+(=6/$="%BC 9"+9%"
8$." 4+6/? =8$= A60%?0/# )+3]6"3 0/ =8" .020/0=B 03 $/ +A3=$2%" =+ 9"$2" 0/ =8" $("$VT

As this inteiviewee pointeu out, in some aieas it is possible that some communities may
not infoim the authoiities when they establish ieligious centies.
8#)I I/&51",& /) "4, B#&" #)I ](3"4Q In the East theie aie vaiious lanu uisputes between
the vaiious ethnic communities, incluuing ovei ieligious sites. Nuslims have been accuseu
of encioachment in aieas consiueieu sacieu to Buuuhists incluuing temple lanus, foi
instance in Beegavapiya in Ampaia. The allegeu encioachment has been poitiayeu as an
attempt by Nuslims to 'colonise' the aiea.
All communities in the East have also claimeu
vaiious foims of piejuuice, such as an allegeu ieluctance to sell lanu to each othei anu also
of lanu giabs.
In Batticaloa, officials with the Nasjiuul Fiiuouse Nosque in Nuslim
Colony have maue complaints of encioachment on lanu wheie the mosque once stoou. The
lanu cuiiently contains a meuitation centie calleu Biammakumaiis Rajayogam which was
constiucteu, allegeuly, with appioval fiom local uoveinment officials.

Inteiview with a goveinment official uealing with Nuslim affaiis, Septembei 2u12

Chathuia Pamunuwa, 'Steep uiop in city's Sinhala population,' Islanu, 11 Becembei 2u12,

Inteiview with a membei of the }athika Bela 0iumaya (}B0), Septembei 2u12

Biscusseu in the section on Attacks on Buuuhist places of woiship on page ---

Bhavani Fonseka anu Niiak Raheem, !$/? 0/ =8" G$3="(/ 1(+.0/2"M 1+%0=023C 1+%02B $/? >+/4%02=C Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Nay 2u1u

Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

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The use of ieligious symbols has also been a flash point foi tension anu uispute. A concein
iaiseu by all minoiities incluuing Nuslims is the 'Sinhalisation' of seveial aieas, especially
in the Noith anu East thiough the constiuction of Buuuhist statues, shiines anu ieligious
symbols in pieuominantly minoiity aieas.
The constiuction of symbols of othei ieligions
is seen as a thieat as it is also unueistoou as a claim of owneiship to lanu.
Tiincomalee, theie aie claims that theie aie effoits to builu a Buuuhist centie in }abbal
Nagai just outsiue the pieuominantly Nuslim town of Nuttui.
In Nannai theie aie
tensions between the Nuslim anu Tamil communities, many of whom aie Catholic, in some
aieas. Foi instance theie has been a long-stanuing uispute between Tamil anu Nuslim
communities in 0ppukulam in Nannai, ovei fishing iights. The case is cuiiently being
aibitiateu in couit, but Nuslims fiom the aiea iepoit that a Chiistian cioss was iecently
installeu on the 1,Suu acie stietch of uisputeu lanu by uniuentifieu peisons.
In a sepaiate
inciuent, some Nuslims have expiesseu theii concein that a Catholic statue has been
installeu in a public space at the Silavathuiai junction in Nannai. An inteiviewee foi this
iepoit saiu, "We aie sau that this has happeneu. We aie becoming less impoitant. This
coulu be a pioblem in five yeais."
Nuslims fiom these aieas also iepoit feais of a
changing uemogiaphy in what they consiuei tiauitional Nuslim aieas. "The iatio of
Nuslims is changing heie. We uon't have money anu Tamils aie buying up lanu."

F/+/"#3; 3,&"3/$"/()& /) ](3"4 #)I B#&"Q Issues of ieligious fieeuom in aieas that openeu
up following the enu of the wai uiffei in some iespects fiom the iest of the countiy. In the
Noith wheie Nuslims hau significant populations piioi to the 199u expulsion, people aie
slowly ietuining anu iebuiluing theii mosques anu othei places of ieligious woiship.
Bowevei, access to some mosques anu othei ieligious places aie still iestiicteu. While
theie is no compiehensive list, CPA compileu at least foui cases of mosques unuei militaiy

Inteiviews with a mosque official anu official uocuments ielating to the case; The inciuent follows a piotiacteu conflict ovei
encioachment on the lanu going back a uecaue, with Nuslims claiming owneiship of the site as fai back as 1962, long befoie they weie
evicteu fiom the aiea uuiing the wai anu theii mosque uemolisheu (Nosque iegistiation numbei: R1Su2¡BT¡1S2). Nosque officials
allege that the ielevant local goveinment official at the Bivisional Secietaiiat has inuicateu an open unwillingness to assist them, uespite
them having a legitimate claim as iecoiueu in Nap No. 84 of the Lanu Suivey Bepaitment.

This has been iaiseu as a concein in seveial inteiviews conuucteu foi this iepoit acioss all minoiities, incluuing Nuslim ieligious
leaueis, non-goveinmental anu othei oiganisations, as well as a Nuslim uoveinment official who spoke fieely on conuition of anonymity.

The ietuin of Nuslims who weie evicteu fiom these aieas uuiing the wai, oi who left, has also given iise to uisputes ovei lanu.
Nuslims have questioneu the legality of lanu sales oi even allocation of state lanu (some of which Nuslims claim they hau peimits to) to
Tamils uuiing the peiiou of LTTE uominance in these aieas.

Naiyam Azwei, "Conceins Raiseu 0vei Constiuction of Buuuhist Centie in Nuttui," Sunuay Leauei, Febiuaiy 21 2u1S.

Inteiview with a Nuslim iights activist anu iesiuent in Nannai, 0ctobei 2u12

Inteiview with a community membei anu mosque official in Nannai, 0ctobei 2u12

Inteiview with a community membei anu mosque official in Nannai, 0ctobei 2u12
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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1) Talaimannai, Nannai uistiict - The mosque heie was paitially openeu in miu-2u12.
Theie is a fence suiiounuing it anu people cannot go outsiue. Piivate lanus
suiiounuing the mosque have still not been hanueu ovei by militaiy officials to
people fiom the aiea.
2) Silavathuiai, Nannai uistiict - The mosque heie is still entiiely unuei Navy contiol.
A naval base has been establisheu in the heait of the Silavathuiai town with most
public seivice builuings anu iesiuential aieas not available foi civilian access.
S) Naiichchakatti, Nannai uistiict - The }ummah Nosque is unuei Navy contiol. The
site boiueis the Nullikulam militaiy camp. Bue to continueu occupation by the
Navy, the community in Naiichchikatti has hau to constiuct a tempoiaiy mosque.

4) Kaiumalayuttia, Tiincomalee uistiict - Nuch of the village was unuei the contiol of
the Aimy anu is now unuei the Aii Foice, anu access to the Nasjiuul Rafiya Nosque
in the village which is saiu to be aiounu 18u yeais olu, has been iestiicteu.

In auuition in Ashiaf Nagai in Auualachchennai BS, Ampaia the militaiy is iepoiteu to have
taken ovei lanu belonging to 69 Nuslim families, incluuing lanu that was allotteu foi a
Nuslim buiial giounu.

!""#$%& () $+,3/$&Q Theie have been a few iepoiteu inciuents of attack on ieligious
leaueis, although the motives aie uncleai anu the inciuents aie concentiateu in the East. In
one inciuent Noulavi S.L.N Baneefa, Piesiuent of the Eastein Piovince Nosque Feueiation
anu Secietaiy of the Ampaia uistiict Nuslim Peace Secietaiiat was abuucteu on Septembei
2uu9 by an aimeu gang anu allegeuly with the involvement of a Nuslim Ninistei, anu
latei ieleaseu.
In anothei inciuent, an uniuentifieu gioup of people hau allegeuly
assaulteu a Noulavi (ieligious leauei) fiom the }ummah Nosque in Ismailpuiam,
Sammanthuiai on August 4
2u12 following which the mosque was tempoiaiily closeu.

An exact numbei of mosques still occupieu by the militaiy coulu not be obtaineu. The cases aie baseu on CPA's piioi ieseaich anu
follow-up inteiviews conuucteu uuiing this ieseaich. It is notable that even among Nuslim civil society leaueis at the uistiict level in
Nannai theie is limiteu awaieness on the cases. (See Bhavani Fonseka anu Niiak Raheem, !$/? 0/ =8" I+(=8"(/ 1(+.0/2"M 1+3=Z*$(
1+%0=023C 1+%02B $/? 1($2=02"3, Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Becembei 2u11.)

'Nuslim people iequest to get back theii village Kaiumalaiyutiu in Tiinco, which is cuiiently being Acquiieu by SLAF anu SLA'
(Tianslateu fiom Tamil), veeiakesaii, 22 }uly 2u12; 'Nosque in Kaiumalaiyuttiu unuei Aimy contiol, village people giieve,' (Tianslateu
fiom Tamil), Navamani, 1S }uly 2u12; The Nosque is iepoiteu to have been iegisteieu in 1947 (N0 R¡8S4¡7¡47).

'Conceineu citizens statement against ieligious intoleiance,' Asian Buman Rights Commission, 26 Apiil 2u12

'Abuucteu piesiuent of Eastein piovince mosque feueiation ieleaseu,' Nuslim uuaiuian, 2S Septembei 2uu9;
N.I.N.S Anvei, 'Abuucteu moulavi given a lectuie by politico, 'The Nation, 27 Septembei 2uu9

'}umma Nosque in Ismailpuiam Sammanthuiai attackeu', (Tianslateu fiom Tamil), Thinnakkuial, 6 August 2u12
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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.,&5()&, "( !""#$%&

The attacks have hau multiple impacts. Nuslim inuiviuuals anu gioups inteivieweu foi this
iepoit say theii ieligious libeities aie being violateu, anu some mosques anu mauiasas
have even stoppeu activities in feai of fuithei attack.
The lack of oi weak iesponse to
attacks both by the authoiities anu Nuslim community iepiesentatives weie iaiseu by
inteiviewees. People inteivieweu foi this iepoit inuicate that while attacks on places of
woiship may not have the uiiect appioval of the uoveinment, theie appeais to be tacit
appioval as eviuenceu by official iesponses that appeai to suppoit uemanus of the
attackeis. Eye witness accounts stateu that police piotection foi the site was iemoveu
allowing the mob to move in to uestioy the site.

The iesponse to the attack on the Bambulla Nosque is a telling example of the confusing
anu contiauictoiy statements by uoveinment actois. The Piime Ninistei B.N. }ayaiatne as
Ninistei of Religious Affaiis auviseu tiustees to ielocate the 6u-yeai olu Nosque. Bowevei,
Ninistei of Lanus anu Lanu Bevelopment }anaka Banuaia is iepoiteu to have saiu that the
Nosque cannot be iemoveu.
Nuslim politicians claim that the uecision to ielocate the
Nosque was maue without theii consultation,
anu a tiustee has objecteu to the foiceu
Theie have also been iepoits that the uoveinment thiough the Ninistiy of
Buuuha Sasana anu Religious Affaiis is consiueiing paying compensation foi mosques,
kovils anu othei ieligious entities to leave the Bambulla sacieu aiea.
At national
goveinment level, Piesiuent Nahinua Rajapaksa is yet to make a statement conuemning the
violence at the Bambulla Nosque.
A few weeks aftei the inciuent the CIB visiteu the
Nuslim Affaiis Bepaitment to collect infoimation iegaiuing iegisteieu mosques, piayei
centies anu names of tiustees, which iaiseu conceins as to how the uoveinment was

Foi instance, the }amiyathul Baiul Iman Nosque - a case uiscusseu eailiei in this section.

See also Chailes Bavilanu, "Sii Lankan Buuuhist Nonks Bestioy Nuslim Shiine," BBC, 1S Septembei 2u11

'Nosque in Bambulla sacieu aiea cannot be iemoveu', Sii Lanka Niiioi,2S Apiil 2u12; 'uoveinment issues statement on Bambulla',
Biiu News, 2S Apiil 2u12, http:¡¡www.hiiunews.lk¡S2912

A statement was issueu by the Piime Ninistei B.N }ayaiatne oiueiing the uemolition of the mosque in Bambulla, anu its iebuiluing
elsewheie. The statement also claimeu that the uecision was maue with the consent of senioi ministeis ABN Fowzie anu Beputy Ninistei
N.L.A.N Bizbullah, Westein piovince uoveinoi AlaviNoulana anu Pailimentaiian A.R.N Abuul Cauei. All foui politicians uenieu that the
meeting took place.
uoveinment piess ielease on Bambulla violence can be founu heie: http:¡¡www.sciibu.com¡uoc¡9118944u¡uoveinment-Piess-Release-
on-Bambulla-violence; Biniuu ue Alwis, 'uoveinment ueciues to uemolish mosque', Ceylon Touay, 22 Apiil 2u12.

'Sii Lanka backs monks in fight ovei mosque', AFP Colombo, 2S Apiil 2u12,

Niimala Kannangaia, 'All Nosques, Kovils, Chuiches to be paiu anu evicteu fiom Buuuhist Sacieu City -ABC,' 2S Apiil 2u12,

'A quotiuian Response: A lettei to Piesiuent iegaiuing ieligious extiemism,' uiounuviews, Su }uly 2u12:
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Page MA
iesponuing to the oveiall pioblem.
In eaily 2u1S the uoveinment became moie active,
at least in teims of putting out statements calling foi gieatei toleiance. Piesiuent
Rajapaksa also met with iepiesentatives of the Bouu Bala Sena, thought to be behinu iecent
anti-Nuslim piotests, anu uigeu them not to incite communal hatieu anu violence but that
they coulu continue to take steps to piotect Buuuhism.
At least publicly the uoveinment
is on specific occasions calling foi peace, but is caieful of not conuemning the giowing hate
campaign, engaging in symbolic but significant actions such as visiting a 'No Limit' oi
Nuslim owneu businesses, noi taking seiious action against gioups believeu to be
Nuslim officials allege that aiiests have been maue in only one inciuent of an intei-
ieligious attack on a Nuslim place of woiship post-wai, which was the attack on the
Nohiueen }umma Nosque in Wellampitiya in August 2u12. While some constituent paities
of the uoveinment have conuemneu some attacks, this uoes not appeai to have leu to
significant action being taken against peipetiatois. Bespite the heavy Nuslim piesence
within the uoveinment, incluuing a majoiity of Nuslim minoi political paities anu a
substantive iepiesentation of Nuslims within the leauing paity in the 0PFA alliance, the
SLFP, the Nuslim political leaueiship foi the most pait appeais to be feaiful of iaising the
issue, especially in public. Iionically, a numbei of Nuslim politicians have lobbieu on behalf
of the uoveinment's position at the 0niteu Nations Buman Rights Council that significant
piogiess is being maue with iegaius to peace anu ieconciliation.
The iesponse fiom
Nuslim political paities has been ciiticiseu as being ineffective, inauequate,
anu at times
In the wake of the attack on the Bambulla Nosque anu othei inciuents, Sii
Lanka Nuslim Congiess (SLNC) leauei Rauf Bakeem maue a statement at a public meeting
in Kalmunai saying that the Piesiuent shoulu uefeat "yellow-iobe teiioiism" as he hau
uefeateu othei foims of teiioiism.
0stensibly the teim iefeiieu to the involvement of
Buuuhist monks in acts of violence against othei communities. Bowevei, it was wiuely

Chiis Kamalenuian, 'Fowzie to piotest CIB collecting info fiom Nuslim Affaiis Bept,' Sunuay Times, }une 2S 2u12

'Piesiuent 0iges Bouu Bala Sena Not to Stii Batieu,' Baily Niiioi, 28 }anuaiy 2u1S; http:¡¡www.uailymiiioi.lk¡news¡2SS11--
'Bouu Bala Sena Neets Piesiuent Nahinua Rajapaksa,' Ceylon Touay, }anuaiy 27, 2u1S, http:¡¡www.ceylontouay.lk¡16-2Su24-news-

'Sii Lanka is being unfaiily taigeteu - }ustice Ninistei,' Tamil uuaiuian, 1S }uly 2u12,

Inteiviews with leauing non-goveinmental Nuslim oiganisations anu community leaueis, Septembei anu 0ctobei 2u12

'All Ceylon }amiyathul 0lema Council conuemneu Bisbullah's claims', Colombo Telegiaph, Apiil 24, 2u12,

'Apologising foi Saffion Teiioi', The Islanu, 21 August 2u12 - http:¡¡www.islanu.lk¡inuex.php.page_cat=aiticle-uetails&page=aiticle-
uetails&coue_title=S971u ; Fieueiicka }ansz, 'We wait to see the outcome of Rauff Bakeem's battle with yellow iobe teiioiism', Colombo
Telegiaph, 11 August 2u12.
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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Page ME
consiueieu offensive anu insulting to the Sangha, anu following public conuemnation, he
latei apologiseu foi the comment.

Theie aie also poweiful political actois within uoveinment who aie seen to be hostile to
Nuslims, most notably the }B0. Police iesponse is saiu to vaiy fiom case to case, sometimes
influenceu by the level of political oi othei piessuie that is biought to beai on the inciuent
but in some cases theie have been aiiests. 0thei political paities incluuing the TNA have
come out stiongly against the inciuent at Bambulla.
The main opposition paity, the 0NP
has taken a moie active iole ovei iecent weeks incluuing in piomising to put a list of
attacks on mosques befoie Pailiament
anu in holuing uiscussions with the Bouu Bala
The mainstieam Nuslim Community iepiesenteu by the All Ceylon }amiyathul 0lema
(AC}0) anu the All Ceylon Nuslim Council have iesponueu to inciuents of violence thiough
meuiation, anu iepiesentation to ielevant authoiities at local anu national level. Foi
instance, following the attack on a histoiical mosque in Bambulla, the AC}0 uigeu Nuslims
in a public statement to auopt peaceful iesponses to piovocation such as fasting anu
piayeis, anu that justice shoulu be sought thiough legal means anu not thiough "impiopei
uemonstiations causing inconvenience to the public."
It has also saiu that it uoes not
oiganise public piotests oi haitals on piinciple. Bowevei, in some instances, membeis of
the Nuslim community have piotesteu against the attacks, such as in the uemonstiations in
Colombo anu Puttalam against the inciuent in Bambulla. Shops weie closeu in piotest in
Kathankuuy, Kalmunai, Samanthuiai, Akkaiaipattu, anu Sainuamaiauu in the East, even
while uoveinment ministeis weie iepoiteuly instiucteu by the uoveinment to thwait such
The AC}0 is iesponsible foi pioviuing halal ceitification so is attempting to put
foiwaiu options foi auuiessing this issue, incluuing in tuining ovei the piocess to
uoveinment, but it is not cleai that the uoveinment is willing to come foiwaiu with a
piacticable piocess thiough which the halal system can be maintaineu both foi ieligious
anu economic puiposes.

'Apologising foi Saffion Teiioi', The Islanu, 21 August 2u12 - http:¡¡www.islanu.lk¡inuex.php.page_cat=aiticle-uetails&page=aiticle-
uetails&coue_title=S971u; Fieueiicka }ansz, 'We wait to see the outcome of Rauff Bakeem's battle with yellow iobe teiioiism', Colombo
Telegiaph, 11 August 2u12.

'TNA statement on Bambulla mosque inciuents,' TNA, 26 Apiil 2u12,

Sanuasen Naiasinghe anu Bisna Nuualige, '0pposition Leauei's statement, thieat to communal haimony,' Baily News, Febiuaiy 2u

"Nuslims call piayei meeting on Bambulla," BBC Sinhala, 2S Apiil 2u12,

A silent haital was helu in Kattankuuy on Apiil 26
, 2u12 in Batticaloa. Piioi to the haithal a petiol bomb was thiown at the office of
the Feueiation of Kattankuuy Nosques anu Nuslim Institutions. Schools, businesses anu the public maiket stoppeu opeiations on oiueis
of the mosque ('Nosque set on fiie in Kattankuuy', Colombo Telegiaph, 26 Apiil 2u12,
http:¡¡www.colombotelegiaph.com¡inuex.php¡mosque-set-on-fiie-in-kattankuuy¡; 'This is a Tiageuy: Bambulla iesiuents',The Sunuay
Leauei, 29 Apiil 2u12, http:¡¡www.thesunuayleauei.lk¡2u12¡u4¡29¡this-is-a-tiageuy-uambulla-iesiuents¡)
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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Page MM
In a numbei of instances, it appeais that Nuslim political anu civil society leaueis opt foi
constiuctive engagement with the uoveinment anu want no pait in activities that woulu be
seen as ciitical oi antagonistic to the uoveinment such as piotests oi legal action. A
numbei of piominent Nuslim peisonalities anu civil society actois such as the Nuslim
Council of Sii Lanka have attempteu to meet with key actois incluuing the Befence
Secietaiy, the }B0 anu the Bouu Bala Sena in oiuei to explain the position of the
community anu to meuiate some unueistanuing. The lack of public auvocacy, incluuing
statements on inuiviuual attacks, has howevei meant that it is much easiei to ueny both the
seiiousness anu scale of the thieat. Theie aie howevei incieasing effoits to explain Islamic
ieligious piactices to othei communities incluuing thiough gieatei engagement with the
Infoimation on intia-ieligious uisputes has also been scaice anu may oi may not be
significantly highei than what is listeu heie. The limiteu cases iepoiteu also ieflect a
uifficulty in obtaining infoimation fiom minoiity Nuslim sects. Nainstieam Nuslim
oiganisations inteivieweu foi this iepoit have iepoiteu a ieluctance to maintain iecoius of
intia-ieligious attacks. The ieasons iange fiom intia-ieligious attacks being peiceiveu as
less impoitant than intei-ieligious attacks, to the neeu to maintain communal haimony in
the face of 'exteinal' thieats, anu ambivalence in the face of intia-ieligious attacks by the
majoiity Sunni Nuslims. As one inteiviewee noteu about the uestiuction of the uaigha in
Anuiauhapuia (which is not a mainstieam Nuslim place of woiship): "People of all
ieligions go to the Anuiauhapuia shiine, but it is not a veiy impoitant place, it coulu have
easily been iemoveu quietly, but the way it was uone was the pioblem, with piotests anu
all that."
With iegaiu to intia-ieligious attacks, Nuslim leaueis have on occasion,
howevei calleu foi unity anu uialogue in the face of sectaiian violence, but at the same time,
mainstieam Nuslim oiganisation the AC}0 has pieviously publicly conuemneu specific
sects such as the Ahmauiyyas.
The Ahmauiyya Nuslim }amaat says that it faces pioblems
of iecognition of its conceins by mainstieam oiganisations such as the AC}0, anu a lack of
suppoit when it attempts to use the meuia to shaie its views.
It is eviuent that theie is a
neeu foi Nuslim ieligious anu othei civil society leaueis to take a moie active iole on
cieating gieatei toleiance anu acceptance within Nuslim society.
Theie is a feeling of poweilessness expiesseu by Nuslim communities at the local level
who feel that the national level politicians anu civil society actois aie eithei unable to

Inteiview with a community membei fiom Anuiauhapuia anu a membei of the }amaate Islam gioup, 0ctobei 2u12.

The AC}0 in a 'National Convention on Befenuing the Finality of the Piophethoou' on Naich 17
, 2uu7 iesolveu that it woulu 'appeal
to all Nuslims to iefiain fiom associating in any way with Qauiyanis alias Ahmauis in whatsoevei foim oi mannei,' while at the same
time appealing to 'fellow Sii Lankans anu otheis to iefiain fiom all acts which may tenu to cieate intei-faith uishaimony.' (A.B
uhouzulAmeen, 'Qauianis aie not Nuslims' Baily Niiioi, 21 Apiil 2u12.)

Inteiview with official associateu with the Ahmauiyya Nuslim }amaat, Septembei 2u12
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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Page MP
unwilling to suppoit them, iesulting in these communities having to take a laigely self-
ieliant appioach to attacks. Foi example, the ieligious leauei of a mauiasa that was
attackeu in Behiwela useu money iaiseu fiom within the local community to install
piotective metal scieens aiounu the piopeity to piotect it fiom futuie attacks,
otheis have chosen to stop conuucting ieligious seivices though not legally obligateu to uo
Some Buuuhist cleigy anu Sinhala Buuuhist leaueis inteivieweu foi this iepoit conuemneu
violence as a means to solving conflicts with Nuslims, anu attiibuteu violence to small
extiemist gioups. Nembeis of moie iauical Sinhala Buuuhist gioups stateu that they saw
no othei option in the face of peiceiveu State inaction in tackling conceins of the Sinhala-
Buuuhist community with iegaius to Nuslim expansion. The Sangha uiu not iesponu to the
Bambulla inciuent with a public conuemnation at least with iegaius to the use of violence.
In fact, the chief pielate of the Asgiiiya Chaptei even expiesseu a similai opinion to the
Bampulla piiest involveu in the violence iegaiuing the neeu to iemove 72 'illegal
Theie was some measuie of public outiage following the Bambulla inciuent.
In one initiative calleu 'Not in 0ui Name' by citizen jouinalism website -(+6/?.0"*3, the
public was encouiageu to sign a petition to make cleai theii opposition to the violence in
Bambulla, which was one of the moie public expiessions of civic outiage acioss ieligious
In geneial, howevei the iesponse fiom non-Nuslim gioups has been muteu.

}oseph Bammonu, 'Sii Lanka's Nuslims unuei siege', Colombo Telegiaph, 28 }une 2u12,

Azia Ameen, '72 Illegal stiuctuies aiounu in Bambulla Incluuing Nosque anu Kovil to be Removeu within 6 Nonths,' Tianscuiients,
24 Apiil 2u12, http:¡¡tianscuiients.com¡news-views¡aichives¡11S7S

A total of 1,4uu people iesponueu with comments in English, Sinhala anu Tamil conuemning the violence anu ieligious intoleiance.
Copies of the petition weie sent to the Piesiuential Secietaiiat, the Piime Ninistei's 0ffice, the Ninistiy of Buuuha Sasana anu Religious
Affaiis, the Buuuhist, Binuu, Nuslim anu Chiistian Bepaitments of Religious Affaiis, anu the Chief Pielate of the Bambulla Temple. (' Not
In 0ui Name: 1,4uu+ signatuies against ieligious extiemism in Sii Lanka', uiounuviews, 1 }une 2u12:
http:¡¡giounuviews.oig¡2u12¡u6¡u1¡not-in-oui-name-14uu-signatuies-against-ieligious-extiemism-in-sii-lanka¡ )

Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page MN
!""#$%& #0#/)&" J1II4/&" *+#$,& (- 2(3&4/5

Following the enu of the wai theie appeais to be a iesuigence of Buuuhism along with
incieaseu ieligiosity within the Buuuhist community in Sii Lanka. The peiception of
incieaseu ieligiosity was confiimeu in inteiviews with Buuuhist cleigy anu leaueis who
pointeu to an incieaseu public inteiest anu involvement in Buuuhist ieligious piactices.
This has been suppoiteu by post-wai uevelopments such as the ietuin of Sinhala-Buuuhist
uisplaceu peisons to aieas they weie uisplaceu fiom, anu the oppoitunity foi Buuuhists to
engage in ieligious pilgiimages to aieas such as the Noith, which weie inaccessible oi
uifficult to access uuiing the wai. The post-wai iesuigence has incluueu the constiuction
oi ieconstiuction of Buuuhist temples, ioau siue statues anu ielateu stiuctuies, especially
in the Noith anu East. The uoveinment anu state institutions such as the aimy have playeu
a key iole in this constiuction. The foimei has announceu that peace stupas woulu be
constiucteu in nine uistiicts.
Along the A9 highway that connects Noith anu South Sii
Lanka, theie aie iepoiteuly 28 Buuuha statues that aie saiu to have been built along this
ioute aftei the wai.
Theie have also been claims maue of 2S Buuuhist temples being set
up in Batticaloa by the Sii Lanka Aimy.
The uoveinment also engageu in a numbei of
effoits ie-affiiming its commitment to upholu Buuuhism, which has foiemost place in Sii
Lanka's Constitution, incluuing thiough the official commemoiation of the 2SSu U6??8$
d$B$/=80 which was celebiateu in Nay 2u11.
Bowevei, uespite these uevelopments, theie also appeais to be a peiception of insecuiity
among sections of Buuuhist society. Feais have been expiesseu, incluuing by Buuuhist
piiests anu political leaueis inteivieweu foi this iepoit that Buuuhism as the ue facto state
ieligion is not ieceiving uue impoitance, that is it inauequately piotecteu by the state, anu
that Sii Lanka is losing its iuentity as a Sinhala-Buuuhist nation paiticulaily uue to the
iapiu giowth of minoiity ieligions. Ninoiities, especially Nuslims anu Chiistians, have
come unuei ietaliatoiy attack in iesponse to these feais in the post-wai peiiou.
Buuuhist places of woiship have also come unuei physical attack in the same peiiou.
Inteiestingly howevei, the cases of attacks on Buuuhist places of woiship uo not appeai to
be linkeu to the main feais expiesseu above by Buuuhist cleigy anu gioups inteivieweu
iegaiuing minoiities. Biiect attacks on Buuuhist places of woiship listeu below aie mainly
cases of vanualism anu theft anu violent acts incluuing against cleigy within the
compounus of Buuuhist temples. Theie have also been physical attacks on sites of

Kapila Somaiatne, 'Nine stupas in nine uistiicts,' The Baily News, 26 }anuaiy 2u11; 'Kusal Chamath, 'Nine stupas as wai memoiials,'
Baily Niiioi, 21 }anuaiy 2u11.

Tamil National Alliance, Situation Repoit, Noith anu East Sii Lanka, 21, 0ctobei 2u11; Imaau Najeeu, 'Nisguiueu Buuuhist Zealots',
The Sunuay Leauei, S Febiuaiy 2u12

'2S Buuuhist vihaias spiing up aftei the wai,' Suuai 0li, 8 Febiuaiy 2u12.
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page MK
alteinative Buuuhist woiship fiom gioups anu inuiviuuals claiming to piotect Theiavaua
Buuuhist teachings anu piactice. These aie also attacks wheie the motives maybe uue to
peisonal oi political motives. In none of these physical attacks have minoiity ieligious
gioups been uiiectly blameu. The majoiity of uocumenteu attacks weie iepoiteu piimaiily
fiom the Westein anu Southein piovinces. While seveial allegations weie maue of 'attacks'
on Buuuhist sites, not all of them fit into the uefinition of an attack on a ieligious place useu
in the iepoit.

8/&" (- !""#$%& () J1II4/&" *+#$,& (- 2(3&4/5


Z#)1#3; =EV *(3#D@#V !D@#+#)0(I#V ^#++, I/&"3/$"Q The Shii Sugatha Bimbaiamaya temple was attackeu
by an uniuentifieu gioup, uamaging uoois, winuows anu notice boaius. The attack is thought to be
politically motivateu as the Chief Nonk of the temple veneiable vijitha Bhamma hau blesseu opposition
Piesiuential Canuiuate Saiath Fonseka, following which Ambalangoua uiban counciloi Beitie Ranasuiiya
allegeuly installeu a cut-out of the 0PFA canuiuate. The Chief Nonk hau iemoveu it, following which the
temple was attackeu.

Z1+; =>V !310#D J#;V !D5#3# I/&"3/$"Q Builuings belonging to Buuuhist temple the Sambhoui vihaiaya in
Aiugam Bay is allegeu to have been uemolisheu to constiuct a hotel. The attack on the Sambouhi vihaiaya
was allegeuly caiiieu out by a gioup that incluueu a businessman who claimeu the lanu belongeu to him. A
shiine ioom anu the monk's iesiuence weie iepoiteu to have been uestioyeu. Theie aie allegations that
the Pottuvil police is complicity in the attack. The Chief Incumbent of the Sambouhi vihaiaya veneiable
Sivuialumulle Bhammasiii Theio fileu a iights plea with the Supieme Couit iequesting compensation,
while a piotest was also helu by Buuuhist oiganisations in Ampaia on August 2 2u1u.


7,5",D@,3 =>V 9(+5,"";V 9(+(D@( I/&"3/$"Q About 1uu people attempteu to entei the vichiien Shosu
Nahayana Buuuhist Temple in an apaitment in the Libeity Plaza builuing in Colombo uS. The occupants
baiiicaueu themselves insiue the apaitment anu it took the police moie than thiee houis to uispeise the
piotesteis. The attack was allegeuly leu by veneiable Akmeemana Bayaiatne Theio anu veneiable
Bakmana Nanuajothi Theio of Sinhala Ravaya. Both gioups lougeu complaints with the police foi

'Attack on Ambalangoua temple is ieflection of Rajapaksa's iage', Lanka-views, 2S }anuaiy 2u1u,

Niimala Kannangaia, 'Temples vs hotels,' The Sunuay Leauei, August 8, 2u1u,http:¡¡www.thesunuayleauei.lk¡2u1u¡u8¡u8¡temples-
vs-hotels¡; vasantha Nalueniya, 'Lanu giabbeis iampage in the East,' The Nation, 1 August 2u1u:
http:¡¡www.nation.lk¡2u1u¡u8¡u1¡newsfe2.htm; Wasantha Ramanayake, 'Rights plea fileu against bulluozing of temple builuings,'
Baily News, 17 August 2u1u,http:¡¡www.uailynews.lk¡2u1u¡u8¡17¡news4u.asp

}ayantha ue Silva, ' Piotesteis stoim }apanese Nahayana temple at Libeity Plaza: claims uevotees being fleeceu', The Islanu,
24Septembei 2u11, http:¡¡www.islanu.lk¡inuex.php.page_cat=aiticle-uetails&page=aiticle-uetails&coue_title=SS44u ; Lakmal
Bogahawatta, 'A meaningless ieligion in the 'membeis only' temple', Sunuay Bivaina,u2 0ctobei 2u11; Binouk Colombage, 'Temple
Contioveisy: Nonks Silent,' The Sunuay Leauei, 2 0ctobei 2u11 http:¡¡www.thesunuayleauei.lk¡2u11¡1u¡u2¡temple-contioveisy-
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page PL

](<,D@,3 PV J,++#)"#3#V T,4/U,+#V 9(+(D@( I/&"3/$"Q A gioup of Buuuhist monks anu laymen aie
allegeu to have foicibly enteieu the Sii Sauaham Ashiamaya anu uemanueu that veneiable Pitiuuwe
Siiiuhamma the chief of the institution anu a populai television pieachei, stop all activities uetiimental to
Theiavaua Buuuhism. Be was accuseu by othei Buuuhist piiests of "peiveiting" Buuuhism anu also
behaving in a mannei "unbecoming of a Buuuhist monk".


Z#)1#3; G=V F#4#3#V ^#D5#4# I/&"3/$"Q A Bagaba of the Pilikuttuwa Raja Naha vihaiaya, which uates
back to the Anuiauhapuia peiiou was founu uamageu, allegeuly by people seeking tieasuie anu othei
valuables believeu to be buiieu insiue. The temple hau iepoiteuly been attackeu on thiee pievious
occasions. The uampaha police weie notifieu anu the piiest of the temple is iepoiteu to have askeu foi
secuiity fiom the Bepaitment of Aichaeology.

Z#)1#3; =AV HD#I1U#V F#U,++#V ^#++, I/&"3/$"Q An aimeu gioup vanaualiseu Kalupahanamulla temple.
The gioup allegeuly thieateneu anu tieu thiee monks incluuing the chief monk anu iobbeu valuables fiom
the temple. Noney, valuable aitifacts, mobile phones weie stolen anu the uagaba was iepoiteu to be
uamageu by the gioup.

F#3$4 =EV \("",V 9(+(D@( I/&"3/$"Q Two monks weie founu muiueieu, allegeuly by two people who tiieu
to iob the Kotte Raja Naha vihaiaya. Both suspects weie caught, although one was subsequently killeu in
an unielateu iiot at the Welikaua Piison on Novembei 9

Z1), =EV 2#)I13#D@#V ^#++, I/&"3/$"Q A piotest by about 2,uuu people allegeuly leu by Buuuhist monks
outsiue a Buuuhist centei nameu the Sumeuha Sangaiamaya in Wanuuiamba, ualle tuineu violent. The
leauei of the Sumeuha Sangamaya hau claimeu to be an incaination of the Naitii Buuuha (the expecteu
next Buuuha) which was seen as an affiont to Theiavaua Buuuhism. The piotest anu subsequent actions
weie allegeuly leu by veneiable ualagouaththe unanasaia Theio anu his oiganisation 'Bouu Bala Sena.'

Z1+; LGV 2,,3#%,"/;#V ?#)0#++,V O#D@#)"4("# I/&"3/$"Q The Peelawela temple was vanaualiseu by a
gioup of tieasuie hunteis. The gioup has allegeuly excavateu the uagaba, uestioyeu Buuuha statues anu
iobbeu tieasuie fiom the temple. The Bungamuwa police aiiesteu foui suspects in connection to the
inciuent in August anu was able to iecovei a numbei of stolen items, incluuing an 18 inch Buuuha statue,
two ielic caskets.

Niimala Kannangaia, 'Theio Sells Poya Banaya', The Sunuay Leauei, 21 August 2u11,

vincent Palihawauana, 'Ancient uagaba in the Pilikuttuwa Rajamaha vihaiaya uug by tieasuie hunteis,' (Tianslateu fiom Sinhala)
Bivaina, 12 }anuaiy 2u12.

Kumaia Kouithuwakku, 'Kalupahanamulla Temple vanualizeu'(Tianslateu fiom Sinhala),Bivaina, 2S }anuaiy 2u12.

'Fienus who spill bloou on monks iobes! The muiuei of two monks in Kotte' (Tianslation fiom Sinhala), 2S }anuaiy 2u12; 'Kotte
Nonks Killei Suspect Among 27 Beau, Welikaua Piison Nayhem,' The Islanu, 11 Novembei 2u12,

'Police 0pen Investigations 0vei Buuuhist Centie in ualle,' The Sunuay Times 0nline, 2S }une 2u12

S.B Nithiapala, 'Police on the hunt foi tieasuie hunteis ,' Ceylon Touay, u6 }uly 2u12, http:¡¡www.ceylontouay.lk¡S1-9u84-news-
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page PG

!101&" GGV !D@#)5(+#V 31),0#+# I/&"3/$"Q Five people weie aiiesteu foi stealing a bell fiom the
Embulgiiiya Rajamaha vihaiaya anu weie iemanueu until August 1S
by the Nahawa magistiate.

?3,)I& /) !""#$%& #)I .,+#",I H)$/I,)"&

It is uifficult to asceitain the motives foi the cases given the limiteu anu sometimes
contiauictoiy infoimation that is publicly available. Bioauly, the main tienus in attacks on
Buuuhist places of woiship appeai to be a) ielateu to theft, vanualism anu tieasuie
seeking; b) intia-ieligious attacks. In auuition theie aie othei types of inciuents incluuing
at least one iepoiteu case of physical attack appeais to be ielateu to a politically motivateu
while in anothei instance theie is physical uamage to a temple uue to
uevelopment activity.
The section below will uiscuss the bioauei tienus ielateu to the
cases above, incluuing inciuents which uo not fit into the uefinition but othei foims of
violence against anu thieats to Buuuhist symbols anu cleigy. This case has been incluueu in
the list of attacks because it is by piivate uevelopeis anu appeais, at least on the face of it,
that no uue piocess has been followeu. The list uoes not incluue instances of attacks on
cleigy outsiue temples oi shiines. Neithei uoes it list attacks on places that aie not
iecogniseu oi useu as temples oi shiines. Foi instance, theie aie allegations of quaiiying
on sites claimeu to be ieligious in natuie in Yahangala, which have not been veiifieu.

?4,-"V _#)I#+/&D #)I ?3,#&13, 7,,%/)0: 0f the cases listeu heie, half aie ielateu to theft
anu vanualism. In a case listeu above, the allegeu motive foi the muiuei of two Buuuhist
piiests within a temple complex is iepoiteu to have been the theft of cash anu a valuable
aitifact fiom the temple although investigations aie on-going. Both the Southein anu
Westein Piovinces expeiienceu two sets of iobbeiies of ieligious anu histoiical aitifacts
anu othei objects fiom temples.
In auuition to attacks on temples theie have been inciuents of iobbeiies at histoiical sites
associateu with Buuuhism. The Bepaitment of Aichaeology has also iepoiteu cases of
uestiuction of ancient Buuuhist iuins at aichaeological sites by uniuentifieu gioups.

Yasaiatne uamage, 'Police Log', Baily News, 11, August 2u12, http:¡¡www.uailynews.lk¡2u12¡u8¡11¡secuS.asp

Shii Sugatha Bimbaiamaya temple, Poiamaba, Ambalangoua - See list of cases in this section

Bamith Wickiemasekaia, "Two cases a uay: Tieasuie-hunteis on the iampage," Sunuay Times, u8 Apiil 2u12,
http:¡¡www.sunuaytimes.lk¡12u4u8¡News¡nws_4S.html; }ayampathy }ayasinghe, "Police outiun tieasuie hunteis," Sunuay 0bseivei,
2u }anuaiy 2u1S, http:¡¡www.sunuayobseivei.lk¡2u1S¡u1¡2u¡secu4.asp

uamini Samianayake, 'Sections of Yahangala holy giounu taken by foice' (Tianslation fiom Sinhala), Binamina,2 Febiuaiy 2u11:

Foi instance, in same village above, a Chiistian cioss was built on top of the iuins of a Buuuhist stupa. It was then iemoveu following
inteivention by the Bepaitment of Aichaeology: Inteiview with officials of the Bepaitment of Aichaeology.
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page P=
Some Buuuhist gioups have saiu that aichaeological sites aie unuei a gieatei thieat of theft
anu vanualism following the wai, as they aie now open to the public without auequate
Some of the aichaeological sites that have been subjecteu to tieasuie hunting
incluue the Abayagiii aichaeological ieseive
, Nagalena Rajamaha vihaia (Temple) in
anu Naipena temple in Polonnaiuwa which uates back to the meuieval
Aichaeological sites with ielevance to Buuuhism aie seen to be unuei thieat
fiom othei souices as well. Foi instance in Akkaiaipattu in the Ampaia uistiict an ancient
Buuuhist aichaeological site in the Sagama village was allegeuly uestioyeu anu tuineu into

H)"3#63,+/0/(1& _/(+,)$,Q In the past two yeais theie have been thiee cases wheie
inuiviuuals anu gioups have allegeuly been pieaching vaiiations of oithouox Buuuhist
uoctiine. The iauical Sinhala-Buuuhist gioup, the Sinhala Ravaya, has openly taken
iesponsibility foi the attacks on the Buuuhist centies in Bellantaia anu Colpetty,
the Bouu Bala Sena is allegeu to be involveu in the othei.
Inuiviuuals anu gioups involveu
in the attacks see the emeigence of these alteinate foims of Buuuhism as being a uistoition
of Theiavaua Buuuhism fiom within its ianks.
TW+ ?"3=(+B =8" 2%"(#BC =8"B N$%="(/$=" U6??803= #(+693O $(" 630/# 9"+9%" *0=80/ =8"
2%"(#BV J+3= +4 =8") 8$." /+ 2%"(#B 2"(=0402$=" +( ?+26)"/=3V W8"B *$/= =+ ?"3=(+B 0=
NU6??803)O 4(+) *0=80/V W8"B $(" =(B0/# =+ ?03=+(= $/? ?"3=(+B =8" :$3$/$B$VT

In two of the inciuents listeu heie, the names of Buuuhist cleigy anu inuiviuuals involveu in
the attacks have been publicly iepoiteu though no action has been taken to appiehenu the

Inteiview with Sinhala-Buuuhist nationalist gioup Sinhala Ravaya, Septembei 2u12

'Abayagiii Nonasteiy comes unuei attack fiom tieasuie hunteis,' (Tianslateu fiom Sinhala), Lankaueepa, 21 }anuaiy 2u12; 'Abayagiii
Aichaeological ieseive comes unuei attack fiom tieasuie hunteis,'(Tianslateu fiom Sinhala), Biiu News, 1S }une 2u12,

'Tieasuie hunteis uamages a Buuuha statue anu iob valuable tieasuies fiom the Aiankelle Ancient Naga Temple,' (Tianslateu fiom
Sinhala), Binamina, 26 Apiil 2u12.

'Tieasuie hunteis attack Naipena temple,' Lankaueepa, u2 Febiuaiy 2u1S, http:¡¡www.lankaueepa.lk¡inuex.php¡aiticles¡96u42

P. }ayasinghe anu Susantha Amaiabanuu, 'Aichaeological site in Sagama incluuing an ancient uagaba iazeu to the giounu' (Tianslation
fiom Sinhala), Bivaina, 2S Novembei 2u12

The Sinhala Ravaya has claimeu iesponsibility foi attacks on Buuuhist centies they say aie uistoiting Theiavaua Buuuhist teachings
on its website www.sinhalaiavaya.com. 'Pitiuoowe Siiiuhamma, uestioyei of the Sasana, seeks the foigiveness of the iace anu the
Sasana.' (Tianslation fiom Sinhala),www.sinhalaiavaya.com, 7 Novembei 2u11; 'Sinhala Ravaya iaius the illegal ieligious place in
Libeity Plaza,' (Tianslation fiom Sinhala), www.sinhalaiavaya.com, 24 Septembei 2u11

Piiyanka Kuiagala, 'Focus on unethical activities' Baily News, 27 }une 2u12, http:¡¡www.uailynews.lk¡2u12¡u6¡27¡news21.asp also
on http:¡¡bouubalasena.oig¡sinhala¡2u12¡u8¡focus-on-unethical-activities¡

Inteiview with a membei of the Sinhala Ravaya, Septembei 2u12
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page P>
S"4,3 !""#$%&: Buuuhist cleigy anu temples have also faceu violence uue to othei ieasons
such as political, lanu oi peisonal uisputes. Theie have been one-off inciuents of attacks on
Buuuhist places of woiship such as the attack on the temple of Shii Sugatha Bimbaiamaya
Temple in Ambalangoua uuiing the piesiuential election campaign in 2u1u. Bowevei it
neeus to be noteu that theie have been othei inciuents of violence anu intimiuation against
Buuuhist cleigy that have taken place outsiue temple compounus allegeuly foi political
ieasons. Foi instance, a Buuuhist monk who took pait in a piotest in Nahaiagama against
the aiiest of opposition piesiuential canuiuate Saiath Fonseka was assaulteu by the Police
in Febiuaiy 2u1u, anu Buuuhist piiests involveu in othei piotests have also been
A 'Nahasangha Sammelanya' calleu by the Nahanayakas (chief pielates) of
foui Chapteis to convene Buuuhist piiests in oiuei to uiscuss the pievailing political
situation in the countiy on Febiuaiy 18
2u1u was suspenueu uue to secuiity ieasons.

It was allegeu that the oiganiseis weie thieateneu with violence by actois allieu with the

In the post-wai peiiou, membeis of the Buuuhist cleigy have faceu intimiuation anu even
violence. While investigations aie still on-going in these cases, the ieasons foi the attacks
iange fiom peisonal uisputes anu attempteu iobbeiies of temples to political-ielateu
violence anu intia-Buuuhist tensions. Bowevei, theie have been othei cases of violence
against cleigy. Although not listeu heie as they fall outsiue the uefinition of this iepoit, they
aie neveitheless woith mentioning. 0n Febiuaiy uS
2u1S foi instance, the Chief
Incumbent of Egoua 0yana Sunanua 0pananua temple ven. Natigahatanne Wimalawansa
Theia was killeu outsiue the temple. The monk was biutally stabbeu anu killeu by a gang
iepoiteuly affiliateu to a local politician ovei a lanu uispute.

'Police iesoits to violent tactics to uispeise Nahaiagama peaceful piotest',Lankaenews, 11 Febiuaiy 2u1u,
http:¡¡lankaenews.isf.oig¡English¡newsuS2b.html.iu=9u8u; Basun Euiiisinghe anu Nilantha Nauuiawala ,"Bhikku unueigiaus attackeu
univeisity officials - }'puia vC We weie attackeu ÷ Nonks," Islanu, 26 0ctobei 2u1u, http:¡¡www.islanu.lk¡inuex.php.page_cat=aiticle-
uetails&page=aiticle-uetails&coue_title=97S1; Isuii Kaviiatne, "Batteieu stuuent-monks vow to stiike back," Sunuay Times, 29 }une
2uu8, http:¡¡www.sunuaytimes.lk¡u8u629¡News¡timesnewsuu27.html

'Pielates postpone Sangha Convention,' Baily Niiioi, 17 Febiuaiy, 2u1u

Niimala Kannangaia, 'Nahanayakes Thieateneu With Temple Bomb Attack" ÷ Pielate ,' Sunuay Leauei, 21 Febiuaiy 2u1u,

Bemantha Ranuunu, Noiman Palihawauana anu Nauuia Ranwala, 'Nonks killing: Noiatuwa By. Nayoi aiiesteu suspecteu killeis
abuucteu, shot ueau: Angiy mobs uemolish suspects' houses,' u4 Febiuaiy 2u1S,
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page PA
S"4,3 *,3$,5"/()& (- ?43,#" #)I H)&,$13/";

Nany Buuuhist cleigy anu followeis of Buuuhism in the countiy consiuei Sii Lanka as the
custouian of Theiavaua Buuuhism anu so it is seen as having a unique iole in piotecting
anu uefenuing the ieligion. The post-wai peiiou has seen a ieneweu asseition oi
iesuigence of this Buuuhist iuentity, anu a uiscussion of insecuiities anu peiceiveu thieats
to Buuuhism neeus to be seen in this context. It shoulu be noteu howevei that these
insecuiities have not been linkeu to physical attacks on Buuuhist places of woiship.
Bowevei, these feais aie seen as a challenge to the foiemost place of Buuuhism as a ue-
facto state ieligion anu Sinhala-Buuuhists as the uominant community.
*,3$,/<,I "43,#"&Q Buuuhist cleigy anu leaueis, ianging fiom those consiueieu moie
moueiate to the moie iauical, have citeu seveial thieats to Buuuhism. These incluue the
asseitiveness anu incieaseu stiength of othei ieligious communities in Sii Lanka;
uemogiaphic changes; othei ieligious communities using oveit oi coveit means to spieau
theii faith thiough ieligious conveision; encioachment in aieas impoitant to Buuuhists anu
Sinhalese in geneial, anu the uamage to anu loss of sacieu sites. The two communities who
aie seen as most thieatening in the post-wai context aie the Evangelical Chiistians anu
Nuslims. These two communities have long been accuseu of unethical conveisions of
Buuuhists thiough pieaching, the use of mateiial inuucements, anu intei-maiiiage. A
Commission of Inquiiy appointeu by the All Ceylon Buuuhist Congiess was appointeu to
look into the unethical conveision of Buuuhists. The Commission publisheu its finuings in
2uu9. It uetails cases that it consiueis aie unethical conveisions,
anu lists oiganisations
it alleges aie involveu in unethical conveisions.
Accoiuing to views expiesseu in
inteiviews foi this iepoit howevei, the iesuigence of Sinhala-Buuuhist nationalism
following the enu of the wai has, to an extent, 'contiolleu' the thieat of conveision.

Nationalist political paities have not iuleu out anti-conveision legislation.
Bowevei, it is
not consiueieu politic as the goveinment is couiting inteinational aiu anu suppoit
following the wai.

Bowevei, baseu as it is on peiception, what constitutes an unethical conveision vaiies fiom case to case.

Repoit of the Commission appointeu to Inquiie anu Repoit on the Conveision of Buuuhists in Sii Lanka to 0thei Religions by Immoial
anu Fiauuulent Neans, (English tianslation publisheu in 2u12), All Ceylon Buuuhists Congiess, 2uu9

"'6/?$)"/=$%03=3 N4(+) +=8"( 2+))6/0=0"3O $(" 38+2,"? AB =8" U6??803= (".0.$% 0/ =8" 2+6/=(B $4="( =8" *$(V U6??803=3 $(" .0#0%$/= $A+6=
*8$= 03 8$99"/0/# /+*VVVVV W803 03 $ =")9+($(B 3"=A$2, 4+( >8(03=0$/3V >+/."(30+/3 3=0%% =$," 9%$2" A6= 0= 03 /+= ."(B .030A%" =8"3" ?$B3V I+* =8"B
N>8(03=0$/3O $(" ."(B =$2=46% $A+6= =8" *$B =8"B ?+ 0=[T (Inteiview with a politician fiom the }B0, Septembei 2u12)

The }B0 attempteu to pass 'A Bill on Piohibition of Foicible Conveisions of Religion' in 2uu4 but sections of it weie ueemeu
unconstitutional by Sii Lanka's Supieme Couit. A numbei of Buuuhist gioups laigely suppoit anti-conveision legislation; some Binuu
gioups nominally suppoit it. Nuslim gioups have not taken a public stanu on the issue, though seveial Nuslim leaueis expiesseu uismay.

Inteiview with a politician fiom the }B0, Septembei 2u12
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page PE
The thieat to Buuuhism is seen in spatial anu uemogiaphic teims. In the Noith the
continuing stiength of Tamil nationalism is seen to be a key challenge anu in the South the
Nuslim community is consiueieu a thieat uue to its giowing population anu economic
In wai-affecteu uistiicts, uoveinment actois have stateu that the Noith anu
East aie not foi Tamils alone anu that Sinhalese shoulu be able to settle theie.
have also been accusations of encioachment of ieligious places anu othei builuings
belonging to othei minoiities on lanus sacieu to Buuuhists. These accusations aie often
ieuuceu to aiguments ovei which ieligious stiuctuie was locateu theie fiist; contestation
ovei owneiship anu bounuaiies; questions ovei iegistiation anu which stiuctuie has a
legal anu¡oi moial iight to be theie anu uisputes ovei aichaeological histoiies of vaiious
The Nahanayake (Chief Pielate) of the Asgiiiya Chaptei veneiable 0uugama
Buuuhaiakkitha Theia is iepoiteu to have saiu that theie aie oiganiseu attempts by non-
Buuuhists to uiive Sinhala-Buuuhists out of uiban aieas. Be is quoteu as saying, "We must
piotect this countiy fiom non-Buuuhists who stealthily tiy to expel Sinhala-Buuuhists fiom
the main cities anu acquiie lanus with the help of politicians who aie gieeuy foi money."

Theie have also been allegations of thieats facing sacieu aieas incluuing Anuiauhapuia,
Bambulla anu Kelaniya. Theie have been effoits by some Buuuhist gioups to tiy anu foice
out othei ieligious communities anu places of woiship fiom these aieas, paiticulaily
Nuslim anu Evangelical actois.
As uocumenteu in this iepoit theie has been a spate of
attacks in the post-wai context against Evangelical Chiistian anu Nuslim places of woiship
anu ieligious sites. Nuslims have been specifically accuseu by Buuuhist gioups in seveial
cases of allegeu lanu encioachments, especially on aichaeological sites anu aieas
consiueieu sacieu to Buuuhists. 0ne of the moie contioveisial cases uating back to the

T7" 2$//+= A%$)" =8")e =803 03 =8"0( NJ63%0)3O *$B +4 "`9$/?0/# =8"0( 2+))6/0=BM =8"B $3, =8"0( 2+))6/0=B =+ 8$." )+(" $/? )+("
280%?("/V P/+=8"( *$B =8"B 39("$? K3%$) 03 =8(+6#8 A6B0/# %$/? 4+( 6/A"%0".$A%" $)+6/=3 +4 )+/"BV P/? :0/8$%"3" 9"+9%" 2$//+= 8"%9 0= +(
?+ $/B=80/# $A+6= 0=C =8"B $(" A"0/# A+6#8= *0=8 )+/"BV W803 03 ?+/" +/ 96(9+3" "."(B*8"(" $22+(?0/# =+ $ 9%$/V W8"(" 03 /+ 40#8= $3 3628
$#$0/3= =8") A6= 0/ =8" 46=6(" =803 )$B A" $ 9(+A%")VT NInteiview with a membei of Sii Lanka's Buuuhist cleigy)

In an inteiview with Chailes Bavilanu fiom BBC, uotabaya Rajapaksa was askeu whethei Tamil people shoulu consiuei the Noith as a
pieuominantly Tamil place.. In iesponse he saiu, "Why shoulu be that. Why shoulu be that. I come fiom Bambantota. When I was small
I uiun't see any Tamil family in this aiea. But touay theie aie so many Tamil families. Why. So then why can't it happen the same thing in
the Noith. If you aie a Sii Lankan citizen you must be able to go anu buy the piopeities fiom anywheie." Anu fuithei claimeu, "you can't
give any aiea to any paiticulai community, it's veiy unfaii to say that.".( Sii Lanka's Befence Secietaiy uotabhaya Rajapaksa as iepoiteu
by Chailes Bavilanu, 'uotabhaya Rajapaksa: Sii Lanka Noith not just foi Tamils,' BBC News, 28 Nay 2u12,
http:¡¡www.bbc.co.uk¡news¡woilu-asia-182u7198; Chailes Bavilanu, "uotabhaya Rajapaksa on ethnicity in Noithein Sii Lanka post-
wai," uiounuviews, u4 }une 2u12, http:¡¡giounuviews.oig¡2u12¡u6¡u4¡gotabhaya-iajapaksa-on-ethnicity-in-noithein-sii-lanka-post-

Sanuun }ayawaiuana, 'East's excavations suggest Buuuhism was eaily biu', The Nation, 7 0ctobei 2u12:

Piesiuent Rajapaksa in a statement in }anuaiy 2u1S pointeu out that lanu useu by non-Buuuhists ieligious places hau histoiically been
pioviueu by temples: "The veneiable Buuuhist piiests have given these lanus to non-Buuuhists because Buuuhism teaches us to give
uonations. We aie ieauy to uonate at any time as Buuuhists. The Naha Sangha anu all Buuuhists aie fiee of no iacialism anu iegionalism."
(N.W. Somaiathna, 'Plan to expel Sinhala Buuuhists fiom cities', Baily Niiioi, 19 Novembei 2u12; "Nost non-Buuuhists use Buuuhist
temple lanu-NR," Baily Niiioi online, 21 }anuaiy 2u1S, http:¡¡www.uailymiiioi.lk¡news¡2S1S9-most-non-buuuhists-use-buuuhist-

Also iefei to ielateu inciuents in the chaptei on attacks on Nuslim places of woiship on page S1
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page PM
199us has been at the Beegavapiya ieligious anu aicheological site in Ampaia in the
Anothei similai case of encioachment has been iepoiteu at the Kuiagala
aichaeological site in Balangoua, Ratnapuia uistiict, which also houses a Nuslim sufi shiine
Baftai }ailani.
In a numbei of these cases political Buuuhist gioups weie involveu:
incluuing the }B0 in the Beegavapiya legal challenge anu the Bouu Bala Sena in the
Kuiagala inciuent. Theie aie also allegations that ovei the couise of the wai Tamil Binuus
have attempteu to take ovei Buuuhist places of woiship.
The Bepaitment of Aichaeology
has also iepoiteu cases of uestiuction to ancient Buuuhist iuins on aichaeological sites by
uniuentifieu gioups.
Bowevei, theie have also been cases of Buuuhist gioups
constiucting temples anu installing ielateu imageiy on ancient sites such as in
Kanuhaiouai, }affna peihaps as a means to claim it.
The Aichaeological Bepaitment is
also facing a pioblem in some sites as theie aie attempts to constiuct new stiuctuies which
coulu uamage histoiic builuings anu iuins.
Buuuhist aichaeological sites aie also facing
thieats uue to the uevelopment of lanu. Foi instance in Akkaiaipattu in the Ampaia uistiict
an ancient Buuuhist aichaeological site in the Sagama village was allegeuly uestioyeu anu
tuineu into faimlanu.

This site is veneiateu uue to the belief that it is a site visiteu by the Buuuha anu its histoiy as a thiiu-centuiy Buuuhist temple anu an
aicheological site. Nuslim settleis fiom neighbouiing aieas have been accuseu of encioachment onto the site, anu Nuslim politicians
have been accuseu of tiying to cieate a "Nuslim sacieu aiea" in the East thiough pushing out Buuuhist fiom the aiea. (Baimitha Kotte,
'Nuslim invasion in the East of Sii Lanka anu uestiuction of Buuuhist sites', Lankaweb:

The Kuiagala aichaeological site was ueclaieu a piotecteu ieseive unuei a gazette notification in Naich 1971. This incluues a S2 acie
aiea incluuing the temple anu the mosque on the piemises. At the Kuiagala site a uispute has aiisen ovei the piesence of a mosque anu
unauthoiiseu stiuctuies such as shops on the site of the Kuiugala Siipaua Bivaaguha Raja Nahavihaia. Legal pioceeuings aie unueiway
to iemove the unauthoiiseu stiuctuies,which uoes not incluue the mosque. In a notice uateu Febiuaiy 27
2u12, the Bepaitment of
Aichaeology vesteu authoiity of the site to the Buuuhist Asgiiiya Chaptei foi ten yeais, with specific conuitions that the activities of the
mosque aie not to be uisiupteu. 0thei Buuuhist cleigy anu gioups in the aiea howevei aie opposeu to the uecision to vest contiol of the
site with the Asgiiiya Chaptei (inteiview with officials fiom the Bepaitment of Aichaeology).

:(0 !$/,$ G$3="(/ 1(+.0/2"M !$/?C <"."%+9)"/=C >+/4%02=C Inteinational Ciisis uioup (ICu), 1S 0ctobei 2uu8,

Foi instance, in the same village above, a Chiistian cioss was built on top of the iuins of a Buuuhist stupa. It was then iemoveu
following inteivention by the Bepaitment of Aichaeology: Inteiview with officials of the Bepaitment of Aichaeology

See Attacks Against Binuu Places of Woiship, page 8S

Foi instance, the Bepaitment has saiu it inteiveneu to pievent constiuction of a Buuuhist temple on the site of ancient Buuuhist iuins
in Sembimalai, Kuchchaveli, anu Tiincomalee. Buuuhist ieligious leaueis have askeu foi auequate state piotection foi aichaeological
sites consiueieu impoitant to Buuuhists, thiough the Bepaitment of Aichaeology; Also see The Social Aichitects (TSA), 'Salt on 0lu
Wounus: The Systematic Sinhalisation of Sii Lanka's Noith, East anu Bill Countiy, 2u12.

P. }ayasinghe anu Susantha Amaiabanuu, 'Aichaeological site in Sagama incluuing an ancient uagaba iazeu to the giounu' (Tianslation
fiom Sinhala), Bivaina, 2S Novembei 2u12
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page PP
.,&5()&, "( !""#$%&

Even while Buuuhist actois have calleu foi action iegaiuing some of these attacks, a
notable featuie is that theie is moie focus on peiceiveu thieats than the actual attacks on
places of ieligious violence. Foi instance, theie has been little action taken to auuiess the
violence against Buuuhist gioups seen to be heietical to Theiavaua Buuuhism. It is also
notable that in intia-ieligious attacks the pielates of the main chapteis have iefiaineu fiom
publicly commenting on such inciuents. Theie has been meuia coveiage on the slew of
iobbeiies anu vanualism of Buuuhist temples anu also aichaeological sites anu also
uemanus by some Buuuhist cleigy anu gioups such as the Bouu Bala Sena that the
uoveinment auuiess this issue.
Theie have also been pailiamentaiy uebates on this
issue but the uoveinment has not yet piesenteu a plan of action on how it will tackle this
issue, even following the high piofile iobbeiy fiom the Colombo National Nuseum.
nikayas have not calleu foi special action to auuiess specific acts such as the iobbeiy anu
muiuei of two monks at the Kotte Raja Naha vihaiaya.
The view of some sections of Buuuhist cleigy anu gioups is that the uoveinment is not
taking conciete action against peipetiatois of attacks anu to ueal with peiceiveu thieats
anu insecuiities uetaileu above.
In inteiviews foi this iepoit, some have helu the
uoveinment iesponsible foi the uamage anu the Sinhala-Buuuhist political paity the }B0,
which is pait of the goveining coalition, foi not taking auequate action to safeguaiu
thieateneu sites. Inuiviuual Buuuhist monks have spoken out publicly against uestiuction
of Buuuhist temples to make way foi uevelopment activity, allegeuly with state appioval.

TW8" -+."(/)"/= 38+*3 =8$= 0= 03 ?+0/# $ %+= +4 =80/#3 =+ 4+3="( $/? 9(+9$#$="
U6??803) A6= =+ )"C 0= 03 Q63= $ 38+*C 3628 $3 ?039%$B0/# ("%023 4(+) $/+=8"( 2+6/=(BV
:8+*0/# ("%023 $/? 8$.0/# 2"(")+/0"3 *8"(" )0/03="(3 9$(=0209$=" 03 /+= $ *$B =+
9(+9$#$=" U6??803)V 78$= B+6 8$." 0/ =8" 2+/3=0=6=0+/ 03 =8$= U6??803) 03 #0."/

'Buuuhist monks uemanu 'piotection' of 'aicheological sites' in East,' Tamil uuaiuian, 29 Novembei 2u12,
http:¡¡tamilguaiuian.com¡aiticle.asp.aiticleiu=64SS; 'uoals of Bouu Bala Sena,' 0fficial website of Bouu Bala Sena (Buuuhist Powei
Foice), http:¡¡bouubalasena.oig¡english¡goals-of-bouu-bala-sena¡

Sanuasen Naiasinghe, Iiangika Range anu Bisna Nuualige 'Plans must be foimulateu to conseive aichaeological sites,' Baily News,
Becembei 1S 2u11, http:¡¡www.uailynews.lk¡2u11¡12¡1S¡polu2.asp

Inteiview with membeis of Buuuhist cleigy between Septembei anu 0ctobei 2u12.

"I have been in Batticaloa foi the past 1S yeais anu have seen how oui Buuuhist temples came unuei attack fiom the teiioiists.
Bespite all these, the goveinment has now staiteu to uemolish the iest of the temples to builu hotels, in oiuei to attiact moie touiists to
the countiy. It is Piesiuent Nahinua Rajapaksa that has to take sole iesponsibility in the event of my ueath. As a Buuuhist leauei, he has
completely faileu to safeguaiu the places of Buuuhist woiship foi the Sinhala community in the Eastein Piovince," (Chief Incumbent
Nangalaiamaya Batticaloa, ven. Ampitiye Sumanaiathana as quoteu in the Sunuay Leauei, 8 August,
2u1u: http:¡¡www.thesunuayleauei.lk¡2u1u¡u8¡u8¡temples-vs-hotels¡)
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page PN
4+(")+3= 9%$2" $/? =8" 3=$=" 03 ("39+/30A%" 4+( 9(+="2=0/# 0=V P/? =8" -+."(/)"/= 8$3
/+= ?+/" "/+6#8VT

Some Buuuhist gioups inteivieweu foi this iepoit accuse the Bepaitment of Aichaeology of
"not unueistanuing the emotional connection Buuuhists have to some aichaeological
anu that they uo not take auequate action to piotect these aieas. Theie have to be
effoits to piotect aichaeological sites by the ielevant authoiities both to safeguaiu the
histoiical heiitage of the countiy anu to pievent non-state actois taking up vigilante ioles.

Inteiview with a membei of the Buuuhist cleigy, 0ctobei 2u12.

Inteiview with a politician of the }athika Bela 0iumaya (}B0), Septembei 2u12.
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page PK
!""#$%& #0#/)&" O/)I1 *+#$,& (- 2(3&4/5

Theie aie contiasting peispectives in teims of the safety of Binuu places of woiship in the
post-wai peiiou. The enu of wai has alloweu foi the ieconstiuction of kovils anu foi
gieatei access to places of woiship inuicating impioveu ieligious anu cultuial fieeuom
post-wai, paiticulaily in the Noith anu East anu ieligious authoiities iepoit that moie
people aie visiting kovils anu aie engageu in ieligious activity. While most of the iepoiteu
cases of thieats, physical attacks anu iestiictions on ieligious piactice have been iepoiteu
fiom the Noith, Binuus in the South, incluuing the up-countiy uistiicts, have also pointeu to
inciuents which have contiibuteu to insecuiity.
In auuition to uiiect physical attacks on Binuu kovils listeu in this chaptei, seveial othei
conceins have been iaiseu with iespect to ieligious fieeuom foi Binuus in Sii Lanka aftei
the wai. Nost of these conceins weie in the Noith anu East anu weie in ielation to access
to temples in Bigh Secuiity Zones anu aieas iestiicteu by the militaiy; militaiy intiusion
into ieligious piactices anu iituals; Buuuhist anu othei ieligious symbols being set up in
the vicinity of Binuu ieligious sites; allegations of uestiuction of kovils anu shiines;
uisputes ovei aichaeological sites; thieats to ieligious places fiom uevelopment activity;
conceins of conveisions fiom Binuuism to othei ieligions. In othei paits of the countiy,
conceins weie iaiseu ovei iestiictions anu piotests fiom uoveinment anu political actois
against the expansion oi the piesence of inuiviuual places of woiship anu the holuing of
specific iituals, as well as the issue of ieligious conveision. While these cases have not been
listeu in this iepoit, they have been uiscusseu in some uetail latei in this chaptei.
In inteiviews foi this iepoit anu in the meuia, theie weie veiy allegations of kovils being
uestioyeu aftei the wai enueu, howevei it was uifficult to veiify many of such cases,
incluuing whethei the uestiuction hau taken place aftei the wai.
Nost of the uiiect
attacks iepoiteu on Binuu temples post-wai have been inciuents of theft anu vanualism.
Seveial of the iepoiteu cases have been mostly fiom temples in the Noith anu East, with
once inciuent in the ualle uistiict. A numbei of othei cases of iobbeiies weie also iepoiteu
to CPA but have not been incluueu in the list uue to a lack of infoimation on each inciuent.
In auuition to iobbeiies, theie aie a numbei of othei allegations of thieats anu attacks on
kovils. Bowevei the lack of uocumentation is a seiious challenge within the community.

A case was iepoiteu fiom Kanniya in the Tiincomalee uistiict of an ancient Siva temple at the Kanniya hot spiings which is saiu to
have been uestioyeu anu a Buuuhist temple constiucteu in the vicinity. Photogiaphs of the site show a Buuuhist flag planteu on the
founuation of the Kovil. (Speech maue by TNA NP, NA Sumanthiian to Pailiament In 0ctobei 2u12). It is also allegeu that a Buuuhist
monk has been appointeu to tenu the site,

(Sii Lanka's Noith I: The Benial of Ninoiity Rights Ciisis uioup Asia Repoit, 1 , 2u12,
Inteinational Ciisis uioup), anu that signboaius uepicting the histoiical ties of ethnic Tamils to the site, have been iemoveu by
goveinment officials. (W$)0% I$=0+/$% P%%0$/2" :0=6$=0+/ 5"poit, }uly 2u11). Bowevei, the uate of this inciuent coulu not be inuepenuently
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page NL
8/&" (- !""#$%& () O/)I1 *+#$,& (- 2(3&4/5


](<,D@,3 =KV \#)01<,+/V F1""13V ?3/)$(D#+,, I/&"3/$"Q This ancient Agasthyai Sthapanam Shiva
temple is iepoiteu to have been extensively uamageu. In Novembei 2uu9 woishippeis iepoiteu that the
siva linga was iemoveu. The temple was last seen intact about a month eailiei. The TNA says that this
inciuent was biought to the attention of the Piesiuent in Becembei 2, 2uu9 by TNA NP Ni. Sampanthan
who was latei tolu that the Bivisional Secietaiy of Nuttui hau been instiucteu to conuuct investigations. In
2u1u the TNA iepoiteu that the Sii Lanka Navy was pieventing the public fiom accessing the temple. The
aiea is now accessible

T,$,D@,3 EV =LLKV \#+1U,++#V ^#++, I/&"3/$"Q A total of 17 Shiva statues weie iepoiteu to have been
stolen fiom a Shiva Kovil in Kaluwella, ualle in the eaily houis of the moining by uniuentifieu peisons, who
hau also assaulteu the secuiity guaiu at the temple. The statues aie saiu to be moie than 1Su yeais olu. A
complaint was maue to the ualle police.

T,$,D@,3 G=V =LLKV \#)"4#+#/V ?3/)$(D#+,, I/&"3/$"Q A Pillaiyai statue is iepoiteu to have been stolen
fiom a Pillaiyai Kovil in a village in Kantalai Tiincomalee. A complaint was lougeu with the Kanthalai


7,5",D@,3V ?#D5#+#%##D#DV ?3/)$(D#+,, I/&"3/$"Q ?he heau of the statue of vaiiavai in the histoiic
Aathi Koaneasvaiai Temple was iepoiteu to have been ueseciateu by uniuentifieu people. A iepoit was
fileu with the Thampalakaamam police.

7,5",D@,3V ?#D5#+#%##D#DV ?3/)$(D#+,, I/&"3/$"X The heau of the Naakathampiiaan statue in
Kaalimeauu Naii Amman Kovil was founu smasheu. The peipetiatois weie uniuentifieu. A iepoit was fileu
with the Thampalakaamam police.

7,5",D@,3V ?#D5#+#%##D#DV ?3/)$(D#+,, I/&"3/$"X The holy tiiuent in Pauuimeauu Chinthaamani
Pillayaai Kovil was founu missing. The peipetiatois weie uniuentifieu. A iepoit was fileu with the
Thampalakaamam police.

T,$,D@,3 GGV Z#--)# T/&"3/$"X The Chief Piiest, Nithiyananua Shaima of the Changkaanai Nuiukamooithy
temple in }affna was fatally wounueu uuiing an attempteu iobbeiy at the temple, anu his sons ciitically

Speech maue by TNA NP, NA Sumanthiian to Pailiament in }uly 2u11, ('TNA Leauei NP P.Sampanthan's Speech in Pailiament'
http:¡¡sangam.oig¡tna-leauei-p-sampanthan-mps-speech¡, 22 August 2u12.)

Supun Bias, '0niuentifieu uang Steals Shiva Statues', Baily Niiioi, u7 Becembei 2uu9; 'ualle Sivan Kovil Robbeu, 17 Aitifacts Stolen',
Tamilnet, 7 Becembei 2uu9.

'Pillayai statue stolen fiom Temple at Kanthalai in Tiincomalee', Thinakkuial, 1S Becembei 2uu9;Kantha'laay Koayil buigleu,
Pi'l'laiyaai statue missing', Tamilnet, 1S Becembei 2uu9.

'Beseciation of Saiva Temples in Tiincomalee Bistiict Continues,' Tamilnet, 12 Septembei 2u1u;' Statues in Binuu Temples uestioyeu
by miscieant in Thampalakamam , People in feai,' (Tianslateu fiom Tamil), Suuai 0li, 11 Septembei 2u1u; 'Inciuents of smasheu statues
incieaseu in Tiincomalee ,' (Tianslateu fiom Tamil) , veeiakesaii, 12 Septembei 2u1u.


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!53/+ NV \(5#;V Z#--)# I/&"3/$"X Iuols in the Kopay Kaianpitu Pillayai Kovil in the }affna peninsula weie
founu to have been beheaueu.

!53/+ NV \(5#;V Z#--)# I/&"3/$"X Iuols in the Achchalu Kovil in the }affna peninsula weie founu to have been

Z1), =LG=V *1"41%%1I/;/31551V F1++#/"/<1 I/&"3/$"X 0niuentifieu people hau bioken into the Bauia
Amman Kali Kovil anu hau iepoiteuly stolen 1u8 gems that weie uecoiating the Amman statue. A iepoit of
the theft was maue to the local police.

!101&" MV *#)#D#V !D5#3# I/&"3/$"X A gioup of people in Panama, Ampaia, allegeuly leu by the chief
piiest of a Buuuhist temple in the aiea, hau enteieu the Sithi vinayagai Binuu temple anu iemoveu the iuol
of Loiu uanesh anu taken it to the Buuuhist vihaia in Panama. The theft also follows pievious attempts by
uniuentifieu people to steal the statue, as well as allegeu thieats anu uemanus by the same Buuuhist piiest
to hanu the statue ovei to him. Complaints hau iepoiteuly been maue to local police anu secuiity foices in
the aiea, as well as Tamil National Alliance NP foi Batticaloa, S. Yogeswaian.

?3,)I& /) !""#$%& #)I .,+#",I H)$/I,)"&

Apait fiom one case, all the inciuents aie iepoiteu fiom the Noith anu East anu aie
instances of iobbeiies, vanualism anu uestiuction of stiuctuies associateu with woiship.
0nlike with othei ieligions, theie have been no iepoiteu inciuents of intia-ieligious attacks
within the Binuu community. Apait fiom those listeu above, a total of 14 auuitional cases
weie iepoiteu fiom }affna alone, with iuols anu ieligious symbols useu in festivals, as well
as valuable gemstones iepoiteu stolen. Bowevei basic infoimation ielating to these
inciuents incluuing uates of the inciuents anu list of items that weie stolen coulu not be
Even while the list of inciuents neeu to be veiifieu, that theie aie so many

Suuai 0li, Becembei 16, 2u1u; Also, 'Chief Piiest Fiieu at by SLA uun Succumbs to Injuiies, Tamil Net, 16 Becembei, 2u1u.

"Bestiuction of veneiateu statues of Tamil nationals continues : anothei uestiuction in }affna,"Sii Lanka Biief, u8 Apiil 2u12,


'Laige amount of }ewels buigleu at Bathiakali Amman temple in Puthukkuuiyiiuppu,' Thinakkuial, S }une 2u12.

B.B.S }eyaiaj, 'Nob leu by Buuuhist Piiest Foicefully Takes Away Pillaiyai Statue Fiom Binuu Temple,' u7 August 2u12

Inciuents of theft have been iepoiteu fiom the following temples in }affna aftei the wai, although no specific uates aie available. The
list was compileu by ieligious actois in }affna. Items geneially stolen in most cases aie iepoiteu to have been valuable iuols, gemstones
anu ieligious statues useu in some festivals.
1) Nayanmaikauuu Aiasaui Pillaiyai Alayam, Nallui; 2) unana viiavai Suvami Kovil, Tellipalai; S) Sii Ambalavana vinayagai Alayam,
Columbuthuiai; 4) Aiul Nigu Sellappillayai Kovil. Nallui; S) Aiiyalai Neeinochchithalvu Sii Sithivinayagai Temple, Aiiyalai ;6) Aiiyalai
Kottukinattu Nanika Pillaiyai Kovil, Aiiyalai; 7) Kaniaichchatty Alakkiiaga Poothavaiatha vinayagai Thevasthanam (Kalattiyit Pillaiyai)
Neesalai; 8) vathaiawattai Kethuvu Pillaiyai Kovil, Puutui East; 9) Sii Sivakuiunatha Suvami Kovil, Point Peuio; 1u) Panavetti Sii
Puvaneswaii Amman Kovil, Nathagal; 11) unanavaiiavai Aalaya Paiipalana Sabai, vasavilan; 12) Kaiaikal visaalatchchi Ambal Sametha
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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cases being iepoiteu fiom }affna is a seiious issue of concein. As one inteiviewee saiu,
"0nly in iaie cases aie people aiiesteu. It has to be people with influence who aie uoing
this. The police anu aimy aie eveiywheie. Bow aie they |thievesj taking it |the stolen
objectsj out of }affna."
Few aiiests have been maue anu while it is uncleai who is behinu
the iobbeiies, some local ieligious anu othei authoiities point to uoveinment complicity at
some level with iegaius to inciuents in the Noith, as most of the thefts have occuiieu
uespite wiuespieau piesence of the militaiy. 0ne case of theft howevei, that appeais
uistinct fiom the othei iepoiteu inciuents was in Panama, Ampaia, wheie a statue of uou
uanesh was allegeuly stolen by a Buuuhist monk anu otheis fiom the aiea anu houseu in a
Buuuhist vihaia. The ueity has long been woishippeu by both Binuus anu Buuuhists.
Theie have been iepoits of inuiviuual acts of violence against Binuu piiests, in one case
associateu with attempteu iobbeiy at a temple as listeu above. Theie have also been othei
cases of violence against piiests that uiu not take place at a kovil anu have theiefoie not
been incluueu in the list. Foi instance, in }uly 2uu9 the Chief piiest }eyanthan Kuiukkal of
the Koneshwaia Temple in Tampalakamam in Tiincomalee was saiu to have been abuucteu
by unknown people. Following a complaint maue by his family to the Tampalakamam
police, they weie allegeuly tolu that he was taken foi a police inquiiy in anothei uistiict.

0n }anuaiy 17
2u11, aimeu men on a motoibike weie iepoiteu to have openeu fiie on the
family of a Binuu piiest on Bospital Roau in Naanippaay, }affna, injuiing the piiest's
While the motives of these inuiviuual acts may be vaiieu anu some of the violence
may be ielateu to peisonal ieasons, these inciuents neeu to be taken note of anu acteu
Theie have been a few inciuents iepoiteu of Buuuhist temples being built on the site of
uamageu oi uestioyeu kovils. Bowevei, the uates of uestiuction weie not known anu given
that these weie aieas with heavy fighting it is uifficult to asseit that the temples weie
uestioyeu aftei the wai. Some of these cases aie uiscusseu in the next section.

viswanatha Sivan Thevasthanam, Innuvil, Konuavil; 1S) Sii Rajaiajeswaii Ambal Bevasthanam, Telliplai; 14) Pattickaualai unana
viiawai Kovil, Tellipalai;

Inteiview with a ieligious leauei fiom an intei-faith gioup in }affna; CPA also visiteu one of the kovils in }affna wheie theft was
iepoiteu, anu inteivieweu Binuu ieligious leaueis anu othei actois on this issue.

'Chief piiest of Sii Koneswaiam Temple in Taampalakamam abuucteu (Tianslation fiom Tamil)', Pathivu, 2u }uly, 2uu9.

'uunmen open fiie at piiest's house, wife seiiously injuieu in Naanippaay, }affna', Tamil Net, 17 }anuaiy, 2u11.
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S"4,3 *,3$,5"/()& (- ?43,#" #)I H)&,$13/";

As noteu, theie aie vaiying peiceptions on the challenges in the post-wai context. While foi
some the main challenge is the ieconstiuction of uamageu anu uestioyeu temples,
otheis it is the continuing thieat of Sinhala nationalism to Tamil cultuie anu society in the
Noith anu East. While most of the attacks listeu heie aie cases of theft anu vanualism, it is
impoitant to note the wiuei context of feai anu insecuiity that suiiounus these inciuents.
Repiesentatives of the Binuu community have expiesseu the feai that theii cultuial anu
ieligious iights aie unuei thieat following the enu of the wai. In auuition the iobbeiies anu
physical thieats to places of ieligious woiship, the othei significant incluue the continuing
militaiisation in the Noith anu suspicions of state sponsoieu 'Sinhalisation' oi the attempt
to intiouuce a Sinhalese iuentity in minoiity aieas. Theie aie also some conceins in the
South in teims of ieligious fieeuom anu thieats to places of woiship.
F/+/"#3; .,&"3/$"/()&Q Inteiviews foi this iepoit inuicate that even while the militaiy
occupation continues, theie has also been a ielease of some temples anu a giauual easing of
iestiictions. The uoveinment has taken steps to ielease lanu anu piopeities that weie
unuei militaiy occupation foi civilian use, anu ease iestiictions on access to temples aftei
the militaiy takeovei of the East in 2uu7 anu in the Noith aftei the enu of the wai in Nay
Foi instance the Naguleswaian Binuu temple in the Tellipalai BSZ was openeu in
Becembei 2uu9.
Neaily all temples in Killinochchi have been ieleaseu at the time of
wiiting this iepoit, except foi a small kovil in Paiavipangan village, which is close to
Killinochchi Town.
Nonetheless, theie aie a numbei of temples that continue to be
inaccessible. Theie is no publicly available compiehensive list of Binuu temples within
iemaining Bigh Secuiity Zones anu iestiicteu aieas in the Noith anu East, anu no public
infoimation iegaiuing if¡when the uoveinment hopes to pioviue access, paiticulaily in
aieas in Tellipalai which iemain closeu. Thiough inteiviews a numbei of cases weie iaiseu
with CPA incluuing a Nuiugan temple anu a Sivan temple in Puthukkuuiyiiuppu in
Nullaitivu which has not yet been openeu to the public,
while the Nagai Kovil in Point

An official fiom a civil society oiganisation in Batticaloa saiu in an inteiview that theie was no uamage to kovils oi iestiictions on
woiship in the Batticaloa uistiict post-wai, anu the most significant challenge iuentifieu was a lack of assistance to iebuilu temples
uamageu uuiing the wai (Inteiview conuucteu with an official of a civil society oiganisation in Batticaloa. Novembei 2u12)

Some of the iestiictions that weie iemoveu incluueu the opening of the A9 highway in Becembei 2uu9 anu the militaiy hanu-ovei of
the vasavilan Cential College in Palalai BSZ to the college authoiities in Septembei 2u11 (N. Paiameswaian, 'Aftei 19 yeais the A9 opens
foi public tianspoit,' Sunuay Times, Becembei 2u, 2uu9; Supun Bias, 'Aimy hanus ovei vasavilan College anu pauuy fielus,' Baily Niiioi,
29 Septembei 2u11).

''Kiiimalai openeu aftei Su yeais,''Baily Niiioi,1S Becembei 2uu9.

Nuch of the village, which is home to about 1,2uu inuiviuuals also continues to be occupieu (Inteiview with a Nembei of Pailiament
fiom the Wanni Bistiict anu a Binuu Religious Leauei fiom Killinochchi).

Inteiview with a Binuu piiest fiom the Killinochchi uistiict, 0ctobei 2u12
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Peuio, }affna is still iepoiteuly unuei militaiy occupation but people have been alloweu
access. In Sampui, Tiincomalee which was ueclaieu a Bigh Secuiity Zone anu latei a
Special Economic Zone, theie aie a numbei of kovils, incluuing an ancient Kali Kovil wheie
access continues to be iestiicteu.
Some temples aie not functioning uue to extensive
uamage uuiing the wai,
anu conceins have been iaiseu about the lack of access anu
iesouices to iebuilu anu maintain some sites, especially those of histoiical impoitance.
Theie aie specific examples of the militaiy's involvement in ie-builuing public confiuence
anu fosteiing peace. Theie have been some iepoits of Sii Lankan militaiy assistance in
builuing kovils foi local communities, such as in the constiuction of a new Binuu kovil in
the Nauhukulam aiea as well as in Sinnathampane, both of which aie situateu in
Bowevei, theie have been allegations maue by the TNA that the Sii Lankan
aimeu foices have pieventeu people fiom iebuiluing uamageu oi uestioyeu temples in the
Noith, although theie aie no specific cases pioviueu in aieas that have been ieleaseu.

Authoiities of some temples in the Noith anu East have iepoiteu that they iequiie
peimission fiom local militaiy officials in the event of a laige gatheiing of people foi
festivals, celebiations, memoiial seivices anu similai events. Sometimes militaiy
peisonnel, iepoiteuly incluuing militaiy intelligence, aie piesent at these events. As one
inteiviewee fiom the Wanni noteu: "The militaiy uoesn't like any big celebiation, if theie is
anything helu they come anu see what we aie uoing. But they uon't give us any tiouble."

It is nonetheless cleai that the militaiy uoes play a iole especially with iegaius to
'pioviuing peimission' to holu temple festivals in politically sensitive aieas such as the
Wanni anu }affna.

Temple authoiities in the Noith iepoit iestiictions on holuing any piayei anu
iemembiance seivices uuiing the anniveisaiy of the enu of the wai on Nay 19
2u12. The
iestiiction is ostensibly because this woulu incluue memoiial seivices foi slain membeis of

Access is not given to Nahathampiiam Kovil anu the Pathiakali Amman Kovil situateu in Sampui SEZ: Tamil National Alliance, Ni.
Sampanthan's Speech in Pailiament on 0NBRC Resolution, Apiil 2u12.

A list of kovils as well as chuiches claimeu to have been uamageu oi uestioyeu uuiing the wai is available fiom the Tamil Centie foi
Buman Rights (TCBR).

'Aimy 0nueitakes to Builu New Binuu Kovil,' Ninistiy of Befence anu 0iban Bevelopment, www.uefence,lk, 1S 0ctobei 2u12,
Sanuasen Naiasinghe, 'Buuuhists Builu Two Kovils in the Noith,' Baily News 0nline, 19 August 2u11.

TNA Situation Repoit, 21 0ctobei 2u11.

Inteiview with Binuu ieligious authoiities in the Killinochchi uistiict, 0ctobei 2u12

Foi instance uuiing the 'Thei' festival in August 2u12, temple authoiities of the Kanuasamy temple in Killinochchi hau to obtain
peimission to caiiy temple ueities to the Iianamauu tank by ioau thiough an aimy contiolleu aiea. Temple authoiities say peimission
was given ieauily anu that seveial militaiy peisonnel accompanieu them, but uiu not uisiupt the iitual in any way (Inteiview with Binuu
ieligious authoiities in the Killinochchi uistiict).

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the LTTE by theii families. The same iestiictions apply in the last week of Novembei,
uuiing which LTTE combatants anu othei LTTE notables weie honouieu in 'Naveei' oi
Beioes Bay celebiations uuiing the wai, which falls the uay aftei the biithuay of the foimei
LTTE leauei, v. Piabhakaian.
Religious authoiities in the Noith anu some aieas of the
East who weie inteivieweu stateu they have ieceiveu wainings anu¡oi thieats to not holu
any ieligious seivices, on these specific uays of the yeai. Foi instance, some kovils in the
Kepapilavu aiea, Killinochchi Bistiict weie tolu not to conuuct poojas anu iing temple bells
in Nay 2u12 anu Novembei 2u11.
Religious authoiities also cite feais among militaiy
peisonnel that poojas anu vows maue by Binuus at kovils aie against them. TP 20.0%
0/="%%0#"/2" +4402"( =$99"? $ %$?B +/ =8" 38+6%?"( *80%" 38" *$3 9($B0/# $/? $3,"? 8"( =+
2+)" +6=V L" $3,"? 8"( *8B 8$." B+6 )$?" =803 9++Q$C 03 0= $#$0/3= =8" 3"26(0=B 4+(2"3_ f+6
38+6%? /+= ?+ =80/#3 %0," =8$=VT

9()&"31$"/() (- J1II4/&" 7;D@(+& /) ?#D/+ !3,#&Q The constiuction of Buuuhist
symbols of woiship in pieuominantly minoiity aieas anu public spaces in the Noith has
been vieweu by iepiesentatives of the Tamil community as a ieflection of a iesuigent
Sinhala-Buuuhist nationalism. The concein appeais to be a continuation of the wai-time
insecuiity of the Tamil community, coupleu with histoiical conceins ovei the loss of lanu
anu collective iights as a iesult of state-facilitateu Sinhala colonisation.
Buuuha statues anu¡oi temples anu othei symbols such as Bo tiees being set up in close
pioximity to existing kovils, in public spaces anu on piivate lanu constitute the bulk of
inciuents. Theie aie also allegations of such symbols being placeu on the site of kovils
uamageu uuiing the wai. A Buuuhist flag is iepoiteu to have been installeu on the
founuation of a uestioyeu kovil at the Kinniya hot spiings site in Tiincomalee. Repoiteuly a
Buuuhist temple has been constiucteu in the vicinity anu Buuuhist monk was appointeu to
tenu the site.
Theie aie also iepoits that the explanatoiy public notice boaius foi the
sites have been changeu to situate the sites in a moie Sinhala-Buuuhist context.
It is not possible to ueteimine who is iesponsible foi the appioval anu the constiuction of
the above mentioneu sites. But the militaiy has been accuseu by political anu civil society
iepiesentatives, anu by local iesiuents as being iesponsible in most cases. In some
instances the issue of pioximity is iaiseu as being a ciitical issue but how 'close' a symbol is
to an existing kovil to be consiueieu a thieat is not ueteiminable. Bowevei, in inteiviews

Sii Lanka's Ninistei of Nass Neuia anu Infoimation Keheliya Rambukwella is quoteu as saying that the goveinment hau banneu any
foim of publicity, celebiations, functions anu events connecteu to the LTTE: Baily Niiioi, 2 Becembei, 2u11.

Inteiview with a Binuu piiest in the Killinochchi uistiict, 0ctobei 2u12

Inteiview with a Nembei of Pailiament fiom the Killinochchi uistiict, 0ctobei 2u12

'Nilitaiy uA constiucts Buuuhist stupa at histoiic Saivite site in Tiincomalee,' TamilNet, 16 Nay 2u12; 'Nilitaiy uA constiucts
Buuuhist stupa at histoiic Saivite site in Tiincomalee,' Sii Lanka Tiuth, 12 Nay 2u12,
http:¡¡siilankatiuth.com¡news¡newspublish¡news.php.news_iu=8S14 ; :$%= +/ Y%? 7+6/?3M W8" :B3=")$=02 :0/8$%03$=0+/ +4 :(0 !$/,$;3
I+(=8C G$3= $/? L0%% >+6/=(B, The Social Aichitects (TSA), 2u12.
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caiiieu out foi this iepoit, the piesence of Buuuhist symbols in any location with little oi
no Sinhalese piesence was seen as a thieat. "This aimy is like a Buuuhist aimy. We uon't
know what theii intention is in putting up all these Buuuha statues. Aimy camps anu
Buuuhist vihaias aie being constiucteu in the name of ieconstiuction."
Some of the
explanations offeieu by uoveinment ministeis weie that the Buuuhist temples anu statues
meet the ieligious neeus of the soluieis still stationeu theie, anu foi Buuuhists who visit the
Noith. Bowevei the concentiation anu even scale of some of these symbols aie consiueieu
uispiopoitionate to the local population of Buuuhists living in these aieas. These have
spaikeu feais of foiceu colonisation anu uemogiaphic change in the Noith. 0uaya
uammanpila, uoveinment Ninistei anu Legal Auvisei to the }B0 has been quoteu as saying,
"We have nevei objecteu to the builuing of Binuu shiines in any pait of the islanu, so why
shoulu Buuuhist statues be tieateu any uiffeiently."
Bowevei, it is also cleai that given
sensitivities especially in the post-wai context, new statues, shiines anu temples aie potent
symbols of powei, which have a significant ability to play into ethnic insecuiities anu
Some of allegeu cases of Buuuhist temples anu statues that have been constiucteu on the
site of kovils that weie uamageu¡uestioyeu uuiing the wai incluue:
• Illankaithuiai, Tiincomalee uistiict - A Buuuhist temple has iepoiteuly been built aftei
the captuie of the aiea fiom the LTTE in late 2uu6 in the place of the Swamy Kovil that
was on the site befoie the wai.

• Kokilai, Nullaitivu uistiict - Accoiuing to some iepoits in 2u11, a Buuuhist temple was
being built paitly on the site of the Aiasaui Pillaiyai Temple in Kokilai, Nullaitivu
uistiict that was uamageu uuiing the wai. State lanu in Kokkilai was also iepoiteuly
being useu foi the new constiuction as the Buuuhist temple is to paitly extenu on lanu
of the Kokkilai hospital anu a post-office.

Theie weie also allegeu cases of Buuuhist temples anu statues in the Noith 'close' to
existing kovils:
• Kanagaiayankulam, vavuniya uistiict - Sii Lankan aimy peisonnel aie iepoiteu to be
builuing a 2S-foot Buuuhist statue on lanu iepoiteuly owneu by five Tamils, incluuing a


Imaau Najeeu, 'Nisguiueu Buuuhist Zealots', The Sunuay Leauei, uS Febiuaiy 2u12.

Bhavani Fonseka anu Niiak Raheem, !$/? 0/ =8" G$3="(/ 1(+.0/2"M 1+%0=023C 1+%02B $/? >+/4%02=C Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Nay
2u1u; :(0 !$/,$ G$3="(/ 1(+.0/2"M !$/?C <"."%+9)"/= $/? >+/4%02=, Inteinational Ciisis uioup (ICu), 0ctobei 2uu8.

'Buuuhist temple being eiecteu in the place theie was a Pillaiyai Binuu Kovil', Sii Lanka uuaiuian, 28 Septembei, 2u11; Also,
:0=6$=0+/ 5"9+(=M I+(=8 $/? G$3=, Tamil National Alliance 0ctobei 21 2u11.
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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Page NP
membei of the local council. Repoits fiom the TNA make iefeience to cleai ueeus foi
the lanus belonging to thiee inuiviuuals.

• Neuunkeini, vavuniya uistiict - Buuuha statues have iepoiteuly been built neai the
Kuiisutta Amman temple.

• Nannai uistiict - A Buuuhist vihaia nameu Nahatota Raja Naha vihaia is iepoiteu to
have come up within Su meteis of the famous Thiiuketheeswaiam temple in Nannai.

Theie have also been iepoits of Buuuha statues being placeu neai the Pillaiyai Kovil in
Nullankavil, Nannai anu close to the Nuiugan Kovil in Nuiungan, Nannai
• Tellipalai, }affna uistiict - Small Buuuha statues aie iepoiteu to have been placeu neai
the IlavalaiKoouathai Kovil, neai the Keeiamalai Nuiugan Kovil anu neai the
Naviuuapuiam temple.

As noteu in some of these cases, owneiship of the lanu useu to builu these Buuuha statues
anu shiines is being contesteu.
T/&51",& (<,3 !3$4#,(+(0/$#+ 7/",&Q Theie have been claims that some sites have been
'conveiteu' into Buuuhist aichaeological iuins, eithei thiough false claims oi Buuuhist
symbols being buiieu anu latei labeleu as aichaeological finus.
Kanuaiouai in }affna,
which was ueclaieu an aichaeological ieseive in 1967,
is being contesteu with some
claiming it as a site foi Sinhala Buuuhist histoiy, otheis stating that it is a site peitaining to
the histoiy of Tamil-Buuuhism anu anothei school of thought stating that it may even pie-

Theie have been seveial iefeiences to this inciuent. These incluue: :(0 !$/,$;3 I+(=8 KM W8" <"/0$% +4 J0/+(0=B 50#8=3, Inteinational
Ciisis uioup, Asia Repoit, 16 Naich, 2u12;"A public statement maue by Nembei of Pailiament Sivasakthy Ananthan uuiing an
aujouinment motion on lanu issues," on Septembei 22, 2u11; in the August 2Sf 2u12 aiticle in the Tamil uuaiuian citing 0thayan 0nline;
in the Sunuay Leauei on Febiuaiy uS, 2uuS.

:(0 !$/,$;3 I+(=8 KM W8" <"/0$% +4 J0/+(0=B 50#8=3, Inteinational Ciisis uioup, Asia Repoit, 16 Naich, 2u12.

'Exclusive: 'Eiasing the cultuial leftovei of Tamils to conveit Sii Lanka into Sinhala countiy,' The Weekenu Leauei, uS Novembei
2u12; :0=6$=0+/ 5"9+(=M I+(=8 $/? G$3= :(0 !$/,$, Tamil National Alliance, 21 0ctobei 2u11.

Inteiview with a uoveinment official in the Nannai uistiict in 0ctobei 2u12; :(0 !$/,$ I+(=8 KM W8" <"/0$% +4 J0/+(0=B 50#8=3,
Inteinational Ciisis uioup,16 Naich 2u12.

Infoimation obtaineu fiom the Ninoiity Rights uioup Inteinational (NRuI).

Foi instance, inteiviewees in }affna iuentifieu a site calleu Nilaavaiankenaiu in }affna, wheie a ciiculai biick stiuctuie is allegeu to
have been set up following the wai, with an official sign fiom the Bepaitment of Aichaeology inuicating it is now a piotecteu aiea. The
assumption was that it woulu be ueclaieu as a site pioving Sinhala Buuuhist piesence, even though at the moment at face value it
appeais that the measuies being taken aie to piotect the site. (Inteiviews with a Binuu piiest anu civil society activist, }affna. 0ctobei
2u12). See also 'Issues anu pioblems facing people of the Noithein anu Eastein piovinces', Repoit by TNA Nembei of Pailiament NA
Sumanthiian to Pailiament on }uly 7, 2u11; 'Exclusive: Eiasing the cultuial leftovei of Tamils to conveit Sii Lanka into Sinhala countiy,'
The Weekenu Leauei, uS Novembei 2u12.

:$%= +/ Y%? 7+6/?3M W8" :B3=")$=02 :0/8$%03$=0+/ +4 :(0 !$/,$;3 I+(=8C G$3= $/? L0%% >+6/=(B, The Social Aichitects (TSA), 2u12.
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page NN
uate the Buuuhist peiiou.
A metal sheu housing a Buuuha statute is cuiiently on the
Kanuaiouai site anu theie weie militaiy peisonnel stationeu at the site.

0thei uisputeu sites aie the Nuthumaiiamman Paaivathi temple in Kilivetty, Tiincomalee,
anu Samanalankulam Pillaiyai temple in vavuniya that accoiuing to some iepoits have
been conveiteu into Buuuhist iuins.
The Bepaitment of Aichaeology maintains that the
two sites contain iuins ielateu to Buuuhism, but that the Binuu temples have also been
piesent, anu that no attempt is being maue to iemove them.
The TNA has also allegeu
that theie have been uemolitions of kovils in boiuei aieas of the Batticaloa uistiict foi
aichaeological excavation, such as the Thaan-thoan'ii-eesvaiai temple in
Conveisely, an official fiom the Bepaitment of Aichaeology has saiu
that theie have also been isolateu inciuents of Tamil gioups attempting to set up a kovil oi
shiine on an aichaeological site. Foi instance, in 2u1u, a gioup allegeuly leu by the TNvP
placeu a statue of a Binuu ueity in a cave in vakaiai, Eastein piovince. The cave containeu
stone tablets belonging to the S
centuiy BCE. Following Bepaitment of Aichaeology
inteivention, this statue was iemoveu.

T/&51",& U/"4 ("4,3 F/)(3/"/,&Q Theie aie specific instances wheie the Binuu community
is lockeu in uisputes with othei minoiity communities.
Foi instance, theie is cuiiently a
uispute between Binuus anu Catholics in Nannai, ovei encioachment of lanu aujoining the
Thiiuketheeswaiam temple. Accoiuing to inteiviews conuucteu in Nannai, it is claimeu
that the lanu in question was meant to be neutial teiiitoiy, which both siues hau agieeu
that neithei woulu utilise, but in iecent months a fence has been iepoiteuly constiucteu by
local Catholics.

T,<,+(5D,)" !$"/</";Q Bevelopment activities aie also seen as thieatening existing
temples, iesulting in possible iemoval oi ielocation to uiffeient paits of the countiy. Foi

Inteiview with an official of the uepaitment of Aichaeology in Colombo, Novembei 2u12; Sachini Peieia, 'The Ceylon Tiavellei -
Kanthaiouai ¡ Kauuiugoua,' The Sunuay Leauei, 18 Naich 2u12

CPA visit to the Kanuaiouai site, }uly 2u12.

'State Sponsoieu Bestiuction anu Beseciation of Binuu Temples,' ulobal Peace Suppoit uioup, 1S }anuaiy 2u11,

Inteiview with the Bepaitment of Aichaeology, Novembei 2u12; 0nce a gazette has been issueu ueclaiing a site as an aicheological
ieseive, all stiuctuies on it aie piotecteu to maintain the 'authenticity' of the site.

'Sinhalisation of Batticaloa takes place unuei guise of aichaeology: TNA NP', Tamilnet as citeu in Sii Lanka Biief, 1u Nay 2u12

Inteiview with an official fiom the Bepaitment of Aichaeology in Colombo, Novembei 2u12

In some aieas such as Nannai in the Noith, tensions between Tamils (Binuus anu otheis) anu Nuslim gioups appeai to be in laige
pait motivateu by uisputes ovei lanu, Foi instance in 0ppukulam, Nannai, theie is a uispute ovei fishing iights between Nuslims anu
Tamils in the aiea. Theie have also been uisputes such as in Kavuiauy, --- between Nuslims anu Tamils ovei the legality of lanu sales that
occuiieu uuiing the wai unuei LTTE occupation of the aiea (Inteiview with community anu ieligious leaueis, 0ctobei 2u12).

Inteiview with a community membei anu public official in the Noith, 0ctobei 2u12
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page NK
instance, theie aie allegations of a Binuu statue being iemoveu to allow foi expansion of
the Neuawachchiya bus stanu in Anuiauhapuia.
The All Ceylon Binuu Congiess is also
iepoiteu to have maue a foimal complaint to the uoveinoi of the Noithein Piovince about
27 Shiva temples anu monuments that woulu be affecteu by the wiuening of the }affna-
Kankesanthuiai Bighway.
The iestauiant Testa built in 2u1u was iepoiteuly built on
lanu belonging to the aujoining Thiiu Nuiukanui Pillayai Binuu temple. The Temple
authoiities challengeu the constiuction but coulu not piove legal owneiship ovei the
Theie have been at least two cases fiom Tiincomalee that the TNA alleges have
been eaimaikeu foi foiceu iemoval as illegal constiuctions incluuing the Aanchaneayai
Temple anu a vishnu Temple (on Bill Beach Roau) in Tiincomalee
anu Pillaiyai Kovil in
the Tiincomalee Bistiict Bospital piemises. In the case of the lattei theie is a contestation
as to whethei the 0iban Bevelopment Authoiity (0BA), which comes unuei the Ninistiy of
Befence anu 0iban Bevelopment, actually wants to uemolish the 6u-yeai olu temple oi a
poition of it which has been extenueu onto the ioau anu is theieby obstiucting vehiculai
As in this case, even while the uoveinment has sought to justify its position in some of
these cases as being about uevelopment anu impioving public seivices anu facilities, the
action anu the piocess thiough which the iemoval has been caiiieu out has iaiseu
allegations of insensitivity anu goveinment agencies being actively involveu in iestiicting
ieligious fieeuom.
This iaises issues of competing peiceptions iegaiuing legal piocesses
conceining temple constiuction anu expansion, anu tianspaiency anu public consultation
in teims of goveinance.
S"4,3 94#++,)0,& /) "4, 7(1"4Q In othei paits of the countiy outsiue the Noith anu East,
theie have been piotests against ceitain Binuu ieligious iituals anu othei iestiictions
incluuing on constiuction of new stiuctuies in existing Binuu places of woiship, wheie the
iole of the uoveinment is veiy much in question. Foi instance, Ninistei of Public Relations,
Neivyn Silva, membeis of the political paity }B0, anu animal iights activists weie involveu

Inteiview with a Binuu ieligious oiganisation in }affna, 0ctobei 2u12

'27 Saiva temples, monuments affecteu by planneu ioau wiuening, ACBC complains', Tamilnet, 6 Febiuaiy 2u1u.

Bhavani Fonseka anu Niiak Raheem, !$/? 0/ =8" I+(=8"(/ 1(+.0/2"M 1+3= *$( 9+%0=023C 9+%02B $/? 9($2=02"3, Centie foi Policy
Alteinatives, Becembei 2u11.

'Binuu Temples in East face foicible iemoval, uestiuction,' 1 }uly 2u1u; Tamilnet, Thinakkuial, 1 }uly 2u1u.

B.B.S }eyiaj, 'The tiuth behinu the Tiincomalee Bospital Pillaiyai Temple issue', ubsjeyiaj.com, 2S Apiil 2u12,

Accoiuing to some meuia iepoits, the 0iban Bevelopment Authoiity hau iepoiteuly oiueieu the iemoval of a 6u-yeai olu Pillaiyai
Kovil in the Tiincomalee Bistiict Bospital piemises in Apiil 2u12 foi ioau expansion puiposes. This was iepoiteuly biought to the notice
of the Befence Secietaiy uotabhaya Rajapaksa, who instiucteu 0BA officials to submit a iepoit. Bowevei, theie have been iepoits
inuicating that giauual expansion of the temple hau extenueu into the ioau aujoining the hospital. ('Tamils Angeieu on 0BA 0iuei to
Remove Pillaiyai Temple fiom Tiincomalee,' (Tianslateu fiom Tamil), Suuai 0li, 24 Apiil 2u12; 'Befence Ninistiy Bows Bown to the
Stiong 0pposition fiom Tamils,' (Tianslateu fiom Tamil), Suuai 0li, 26 Apiil 2u12).
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page KL
in leauing opposition to a iitualistic animal slaughtei at the Bhauiakali Amman temple in
Nunneswaiam, Chilaw in 2u12.
Theie have been similai piotests at the same temple
ovei the past few yeais. The saciifice was not helu in 2u11 anu 2u12 following piotests.
The All Ceylon Binuu Congiess also conuemneu animal saciifices in the piecinct of temples,
saying that the "saciifice of animals in Binuu kovils" is an "act of sin not acceptable to oui
This issue of animal saciifice iaises multiple anu competing conceins incluuing
ciuelty to animals, ieligious piactices anu fieeuoms anu the iole of the State in auuiessing
these conceins.
At the same kovil in Chilaw, temple piiests have iepoiteuly also saiu that theii effoits to
builu a 'iajgopuia' oi 'towei gate' foi the kovil is being obstiucteu by the }B0, Buuuhist
monks in the aiea, the Bepaitment of Aichaeology anu goveinment officials.
In August
2u12, following the attack on a mosque in Bambulla, the piesence of the Su-yeai olu Kaali
Amman Binuu Kovil on the same site was also thieateneu, along with Binuu iesiuents in
the aiea by the Chief Pielate of the Bambulla Buuuhist temple.
A couit oiuei was also
iepoiteuly issueu uenying the Kovil peimission to conuuct an annual festival.

Theie weie no cases of uiiect attacks on Binuu places of woiship iepoiteu fiom up-countiy
aieas, although it is not cleai if this is because of a lack of iepoiting of inciuents. Bowevei
theie weie some iepoits of uifficulties in expanuing temples. Foi instance, at the
Sivasubiamaniam Temple in Pussellawa town, temple authoiities aie iepoiteuly facing
uoveinment objection to builuing a gopuiam by the main gate foi the temple.
foi this iepoit inuicate contiauictoiy positions on the issue of ieligious fieeuom in these
aieas. 0ne view has been that theie aie no significant issues of ieligious fieeuom.
"W8"(" $(" /+ 3628 0/20?"/=3 0/ =8"3" $("$3V K/ 9%$/=$=0+/ 26%=6(" 9"+9%" $(" 63"? =+
8$.0/# 3B)A+%3 +4 +=8"( ("%0#0+/3C $/? +=8"( 3=$=6"3 /"`= =+ =8"0( =")9%"3V K4 :0/8$%"3"
9"+9%" %0." 2%+3" AB =8"(" )$B A" $ U6??8$ 3=$=6" 2%+3" =+ $ L0/?6 =")9%"V 1"+9%" .030=
A+=8 =")9%"3 3+)"=0)"3V W8"(" $(" /+ ="/30+/3 A"2$63" +4 0=VT

This sentiment has been echoeu by some politicians fiom the aiea, as most Tamils live
within piivately manageu estates anu the scope foi conflict is thought to be limiteu. Theie

R.K Rauhakiishnan, Animal saciifice iow again in Sii Lanka' The Binuu, 27 August 2u12

The Islanu, 'ACB0 opposes animal saciifice', 29 August 2u12.

'Buuuhists obstiuct the builuing of a Rajgopuia at Nunneswaiam Temple' (Tianslateu fiom Tamil), Suuai 0li, 11 0ctobei 2u12.

'Bigoteu-monks-anu-militant-mobs-is-this-buuuhism-in-sii-lanka-touay,'uiounuviews, 2S Apiil 2u12

Inteiview with an official with the Bambulla Kovil, 0ctobei 2u12

Inteiview with a membei of the Kanuy Nunicipal Council, Novembei 2u12

Inteiview with a membei of an Nu0 with opeiations in Kanuy, Novembei 2u12
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page KG
have been specific inciuents of violence but these tenu to be limiteu to inuiviuuals oi
householus, iathei than places of Binuu woiship. Bowevei, an issue that is iaiseu fiom
these aieas anu othei paits of the South is that specific ieligious sites have lost theii Binuu
iuentity oi been taken ovei by Buuuhists. Some key examples citeu incluue Kathaiagama
anu Auam's Peak.
0ne inteiviewee noteu that ovei the last twenty yeais the tiustee
boaius of some of the main kovils in the up-countiy aieas have become moie Sinhala than
Tamil in theii membeiship.

.,+/0/(1& 9()<,3&/()&Q The issue of conveisions of Binuus by Chiistians anu Nuslims was
iaiseu by inteiviewees in vaiious paits of the countiy. Theie weie iepoits of
announcements being maue at some kovils in the Noith, auvising people to be awaie that
Evangelical Chiistian gioups may tiy to conveit them fiom Binuuism.
In up-countiy
aieas conveision fiom both Nuslim anu Chiistian gioups was iuentifieu as a concein. Some
local community oiganisations have iepoiteu that they have begun actively visiting estate
communities togethei with Binuu cleigy, infoiming them of pioselytising activities of
laigely Chiistian anu Nuslim inuiviuuals anu gioups. An official with a Binuu ieligious
oiganisation explaineu that they have maue seveial fielu visits to aieas incluuing Ramboua,
ualaha, Beltota, Bantana anu othei places, accompanieu by Binuu piiests to biief people
about conveision by Chiistians anu Nuslims.
Be also explaineu that they tiy to auuiess
economic anu othei pioblems faceu by these communities, as othei ieligious gioups aie
thought to offei mateiial benefits as a means of piomoting theii faith.

.,&5()&,& "( !""#$%&

In iesponse to the wave of iobbeiies anu vanualism, ieligious iepiesentatives stateu that
they hau taken a numbei of steps incluuing making complaints to the police, woiking with
othei ieligious actois anu meeting with the uoveinoi of the Noithein Piovince u.A.
Chanuiasiii. They have also uiscusseu the issue with the Bepaitment of Binuu Affaiis but
theie has been no ieal piogiess. Pailiamentaiians fiom the TNA have spoken out publicly
anu in Pailiament against the uestiuction of Binuu temples, anu linkeu it to theii
campaigns to challenge the Sinhalisation of the Noith anu East. The alliance has also

See also :$%= +/ Y%? 7+6/?3M W8" :B3=")$=02 :0/8$%03$=0+/ +4 :(0 !$/,$;3 I+(=8C G$3= $/? L0%% >+6/=(BC P J+/+#($98 by The Social
Aichitects, Naich 2u12.

Inteiview with a membei fiom a Binuu Religious oiganisation, }affna in 0ctobei 2u12; inteiview with a civil society actoi fiom the up-
countiy, by phone, 0ctobei 2u12

Inteiview with a Nu0 woikei with opeiations in the Noith anu East, 0ctobei 2u12

Inteiview with an official of a Binuu ieligious oiganisation in Kanuy, Novembei 2u12

Inteiview with an official of a Binuu ieligious oiganisation in Kanuy, Novembei 2u12
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page K=
questioneu the asseition of 'sacieu aieas' in the countiy, saying that it has "no basis in law
anu is utteily incompatible with the uesiieu values of a multi-cultuial society."
while the TNA anu the Tamil meuia play a iole in vocalising some of the issues, Binuuism in
Sii Lanka as an institution lacks hieiaichical stiuctuies (like those foi example which
govein the Catholic Chuich) anu theie aie only few oiganisations that claim to iepiesent
anu auvocate on behalf of the community. The All Ceylon Binuu Congiess is often citeu as a
key actoi in some of the high piofile cases. 0thei oiganisations such as the Binuu Naha
Sabha in }affna have been set up to take up the issues facing Tamil Binuus in the Noithein
Piovince in paiticulai as theie was a peiception that theie aie no gioups to take up the
challenges faceu by the community.
In teims of uealing with key pioblems, an issue that was iaiseu was the lack of consultation
by the uoveinment at the local level. An official with a Binuu civil society oiganisation in
the Noith saiu:
TL0/?6 ("%0#0+63 $2=0.0=0"3 #"= ?"20?"? AB /+/ZL0/?6 $6=8+(0=0"3V 78"=8"( $ =")9%" +(
3=$=6" 2$/ A" (")+."? +( /+= 8$3 =+ A" ?"20?"? AB =8" 80#8"3= %"."%3 +4 L0/?6 +44020$%3V
U6= ?"2030+/3 $(" =$,"/ $(A0=($(0%BV 7" *$/= 0= "/36("? =8$= $2=0.0=0"3 +4 L0/?63 *0%% A"

While piotesting against the annual saciifice at the Nunneswaiam Kali Kovil foi instance,
the All Ceylon Binuu Congiess also iequesteu that Binuus be alloweu to iesolve the issue
without the involvement of politicians oi non-Binuu gioups. A key iecommenuation maue
in the inteiviews with CPA was that, uecisions such as iemoval of Binuu symbols fiom
public places neeu to be taken in consultation with Binuu officials anu¡oi ieligious leaueis.
Fuithei, theie is opposition to the abolition of ministiies foi each ieligion, because existing
uepaitments aie seen as having limiteu authoiity to auequately iepiesent the inteiests of
the Binuu community. It was noteu that while iepiesentative oiganisations saiu they weie
able to iaise pioblems with the Binuu Affaiis Bepaitment, the concein was that the
Bepaitment at times uiu not have sufficient authoiity to take action. Bowevei, it is not cleai
that even if a sepaiate ministiy was to be ie-establisheu will have significant poweis in the
cuiient political context.
The inability of the militaiy to pievent iobbeiies uespite its heavy piesence anu its allegeu
involvement in contioveisial uevelopments such as the constiuction of Buuuhist places of
woiship has iaiseu conceins of heavy militaiisaton. The TNA has calleu foi iemoval of
militaiy cantonments in the Noith anu East, anu implementation of the iecommenuations

Tamil National Alliance statement on Bambulla inciuents, 26 Apiil 2u12

Inteiview with a Binuu ieligious leauei in }affna, 0ctobei 2u12
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page K>
of the LLRC, which has also been echoeu by otheis incluuing fiom civil society gioups.

With iespect to conceins ovei continueu militaiisation of the Noith, the uoveinment has
inuicateu that it consiueis a militaiy piesence essential in the Noithein uistiicts,
uoveinment officials have also saiu that theie will giauually be a scaling back of militaiy
piesence such that a balance is achieveu between inteiests of national secuiity anu the civil
iequiiements of people.
While the uoveinment has consistently uenieu militaiy
involvement in civilian issues, the continuing accusations of the militaiy attempting to
pievent ieligious woiship on specific uays continues to be a key point of contention anu
pioof of militaiy inteifeience in ieligious fieeuoms. Though theie have been moves to open
up access to moie lanu, theie aie contiauictoiy policy statements as to whethei all lanus,
incluuing places of ieligious woiship will be ieleaseu.
Some Binuu ieligious leaueis anu othei officials have also expiesseu poweilessness in
uealing with the attacks anu also stateu that they have a lack of contiol ovei matteis of
theii own ieligion.
TW8"4= N4(+) =")9%"3O 8$3 A""/ 0/2("$30/# $4="( =8" *$(V K= 8$3 A""/ 8$99"/0/# 0/ =8"
%$3= +/" $/? $ 8$%4 B"$(3V K?+%3 $(" A"0/# 3=+%"/V 7" $(" /+= 36(" *8+ 03 ?+0/# =803V K=
2$63"3 $ ?03=6(A$/2" 0/ =8" )"/=$% A"%0"43 +4 9"+9%" $3 =+ *8B =803 03 8$99"/0/# $/?
-+? 03 ?+0/# /+=80/#V W8"0( 4$0=8 03 A(+,"/V K4 =8" 9+%02" $/? =8" )0%0=$(B *$/= =+C =8"B
2$/ 3=+9 0=VT

Inteiviews conuucteu foi this iepoit inuicate an inability of people to piotest against
attacks on Binuu kovils, anu ieuuceu suppoit fiom police in some instances of attack.
"People aie scaieu to oppose these things. They have suffeieu foi a long time anu they
cannot fight a stiongei, aimeu foice. They just want to live in peace now."

Tamil National Alliance, Ni. Sampanthan's Speech in Pailiament on 0NBRC Resolution, Apiil 2u12.

Foieign Ninistei u.L Peiiis quoteu as saying that "the iole of the aimeu foices uiu not enu aftei uefeating teiioiism". (Tisaianee
uunasekaia, 'Rajapaksa Bevolution,'Bimal South Asian, }uly 2u11; 'Sii Lanka iejects call to withuiaw aimy fiom the Noith,' Agence
Fiance Piess (AFP), 22 Apiil 2u12).

K.T Rajasingham, ' Nohan Pieiis on actions taken on Sii Lanka's voluntaiy submissions in 2uu8 to 0niveisal Peiiouic Review,' Asian
Tiibune, 21 0ctobei 2u12.

Inteiview with a Binuu ieligious leauei in }affna, 0ctobei 2u12.

Inteiview with a goveinment official involveu with Binuu ieligious affaiis in Colombo, Septembei 2u12.
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page KA

As uocumenteu in this iepoit, the post-wai context in Sii Lanka has witnesseu a seiies of
attacks, othei foims of violence anu thieats to ieligious places of woiship anu fieeuoms.
This list is not compiehensive as theie may be inciuents which have not been iepoiteu anu
theie weie cases which weie iaiseu by inteiviewees but which coulu not be veiifieu.
Nonetheless, the compileu list of cases pioviues a staiting point to uiscuss the iange anu
scale of attacks against places of woiship in the post-wai context. The lack of
uocumentation of cases fiom the foui main ieligions makes it uifficult to compaie the
absolute numbei of cases in the post-wai peiiou with that of pievious yeais anu to make a
geneial asseition of whethei the level of violence against ieligious places has incieaseu,
ieuuceu oi stayeu the same uuiing the wai anu aftei its conclusion. Bowevei, what is cleai
is that this is an issue that iequiies attention as Sii Lanka attempts to make the tiansition
fiom post wai to post conflict.
It neeus to be noteu that the inciuents of violence aie sometimes pait of a seiies of
inciuents of violence anu intimiuation, anu have become elements of laigei naiiatives of
feai anu insecuiity. Bence, while steps neeu to be taken to auuiess the attacks, measuies to
ueal with the wiuei context anu ensuie ieligious coexistence aie impeiative. At the local
level the violence has hau a uiiect impact on those fiequenting ieligious places. In a
numbei of cases this has cieateu tensions between the affecteu community anu the
community fiom which the peipetiatois aie believeu to be fiom, while also cieating
iipples of feai anu appiehension among wiuei society, especially in high piofile cases. The
inciuents aie also thieats to the iule of law anu funuamental iights guaianteeu by the Sii
Lankan Constitution, anu aie thieatening ieligious anu ethnic coexistence.
It neeus to be noteu that the unueilying causes of tension may be expiesseu as ieligious in
natuie when in fact they aie an amalgam of economic, ethnic, political anu othei conflicts.
This is impoitant to note because solving the appaiently 'ieligious' aspects of the
communal fiiction may not actually leau to an amicable settlement when the uiiveis of
ieligious tension anu violence ieally seek to stiengthen communalism foi theii own
political benefit oi economic motivations. They coulu be extiemist in natuie anu at ouus
with funuamental uemociatic piinciples anu basic noims.
It is cleai that the piimaiy iesponsibility foi uealing with these thieats anu violence lies
with the State. It is uuty bounu to ensuie the piotection of ieligious fieeuoms anu othei
constitutional iights, incluuing pioviuing piotection fiom violence anu ensuiing equal
tieatment. Fuitheimoie, it is also impeiative that the vaiious actois within the State take
note of the ciitical iole they aie meant to play. While police anu juuicial action has vaiieu in
cases, theie is a geneial peiception that theie is a uisiegaiu foi iule of law, a cultuie of
toleiance foi 'stieet justice', anu that the police anu even the juuiciaiy will not upholu
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iights of those affecteu. This is compounueu by a lack of aiiests in key cases uespite public
eviuence of attacks anu gioups openly taking iesponsibility foi the same. uiven the
accusations that the militaiy is involveu in the constiuction of 'new' Buuuhist places of
woiship in the post-wai context, theie has to be gieatei sensitisation within the militaiy
anu also the uoveinment of how these actions can seive to unueimine confiuence anu
public tiust in the state. The Aichaeological Bepaitment neeus to ensuie that it is able to
asseit its contiol ovei sites anu ensuie theii piotection. It also neeus to ensuie gieatei
consultation with local communities anu ieligious gioups in the aiea who aie claiming
access to anu use of the site. Inuepenuent institutions such as the Buman Rights
Commission anu the Piess Complaints Council have a significant iole to play in acting as a
watchuog with iegaius to the actions of the State anu non-state actois, incluuing the meuia
anu police. In playing a moie pioactive iole they coulu contiibute to incieasing public
confiuence anu help uiffuse tensions.
The uoveinment's iesponse to inciuents of ieligious violence has vaiieu. uiven the multi-
ethnic anu uiveise iange of political paities within the uoveinment it is not unsuipiising
that the iesponse to inuiviuual high-piofile inciuents has tenueu to be vaiieu anu even
conflicting. A key issue that has been iaiseu in inteiviews is the lack of a cleai statement of
conuemnation by the uoveinment, especially the Piesiuent, in egiegious inciuents such as
the Bambulla Nosque attack, which has intensifieu feais anu cieateu a peiception that the
uoveinment is attempting to avoiu conuemning the violence anu theieby playing into a
cultuie of impunity. Theie aie also peiceptions among minoiity gioups that the
uoveinment is both actively anu passively suppoiting a Sinhala Buuuhist agenua anu is
tuining a blinu eye to violence against minoiity communities. This is at least paitly a battle
of peiceptions but the uoveinment anu the Piesiuent neeus to take steps both to auuiess
the conceins anu iights of all gioups in the countiy thiough both woiu anu ueeu. uiven the
spate of iobbeiies at ieligious sites, paiticulaily kovils anu Buuuhist sites, coupleu with
mob violence against Chiistian anu Nuslim places of woiship in paiticulai, it is cleai that
piotection is a piimaiy concein. The iesponse to these uiffeient types of secuiity issues has
to incluue community policing, pie-ciisis inteiventions, special investigations teams anu an
expiesseu uoveinment commitment to auuiessing each of these inciuents.
As such it is impoitant the uoveinment takes into consiueiation iecommenuations maue
by the LLRC incluuing on the establishment of an eaily waining anu uiffusing mechanism
that is set up in consultation with intei-faith gioups. This woulu also help auuiess a seiious
lacuna in the iole of the uoveinment both in teims of pieventing anu iesponuing to
ieligious violence. The intei-faith gioup neeus to ensuie that it is consultative anu uoes not
ignoie the inteiests of the affecteu communities, foi the sake of maintaining national level
haimony. Beveloping anu stiengthening nautonomous citizen's committees, as opposeu to
Civil Befence Committees 6 the lattei which aie unuei the police anu seen to be moie
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vigilante than iepiesentative in composition anu functioning 6 coulu piove an effective tool.
Cleai guiuelines anu piotocols on pioceuuies to be followeu in cases of violent inciuents,
especially foi fiist iesponueis at a local level, coulu contiibute to uefusing situations on the
giounu anu holuing ielevant actois accountable. Implementing the LLRC's
iecommenuations shoulu be seen as pait of a much laigei piogiamme of action to auuiess
ieligious violence anu intoleiance.
In paiallel, theie must be effoits to ensuie gieatei consultation by uoveinment on ieligious
issues. Foi instance, on the issue of ielocation of places of ieligious woiship, a common
peiception is that theie is no ieal consultation by uoveinment actois in the aiea oi by
Cential uoveinment actois such as the 0iban Bevelopment Authoiity. In this iegaiu
national political paities anu politicians, incluuing some within uoveinment, aie also seen
to act without uue consultation with those communities whom they aie claiming to
iepiesent. Bence, theie has to be gieatei attention paiu by political paities to heai out the
giievances at the community level anu the paities must uevise ways of pioviuing some
ieuiess. Theie is a cleai neeu foi politicians to on the one hanu iaise the conceins of
ieligious communities, incluuing with the uoveinment anu state actois but on the othei
hanu uo so iesponsibly so as to avoiu intensifying tensions.
The iole of ieligious actois in such a context neeus to be ievieweu. In some of the inciuents
theie aie seiious allegations that ieligious actois aie both uiiectly anu inuiiectly involveu
in the violence, while theii iole in amelioiating tensions anu auuiessing the causes anu
outcomes of the violence is less obvious anu cleai. While each of the ieligions have
uiffeient hieiaichical stiuctuies ianging fiom the Catholic Chuich with a cleai
oiganisational establishment to the Binuu community which has a moie uiffuseu
aiiangement if at all, theie aie a numbei of steps that can be taken by ieligious actois,
without waiting foi the uoveinment to act, such as activating intei-ieligious foiums anu
engaging in activities to cieate intei-ieligious unueistanuing. The iole of ieligious
authoiities in teims of intia-ieligious violence also neeus to be auuiesseu as this is an aiea
that seems to be laigely oveilookeu even though in some instances they have playeu a
pivotal iole in inflaming ieligious tensions, pioviuing iueological leaueiship to iauical
gioups anu even in leauing the violence. Religious institutions playing a leaueiship iole
within each faith oi sects¡uenominations within each faith neeu to take steps towaius
ensuiing that theii cleigy aie not passing on messages of hate anu intoleiance unuei the
guise of piotecting ieligious faiths. In the cuiient context theie is a cleai neeu foi the
nikayas to play such a iole. They can in tuin also play a iole in meuiating between
antagonistic gioups anu uefusing tensions. Stiengthening mechanisms such as intei-
ieligious uialogues anu exchanges between ieligious cleigy fiom vaiious faiths coulu piove
useful in this iegaiu. Theie is also a cleai neeu foi intiospection among ieligious gioups,
incluuing those involveu in ieligious ievivalism, incluuing Nuslim anu Chiistian ievivalists,
Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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Page KP
to attempt to unueistanu how they may have contiibuteu to theii own `ghettoization' anu
uistancing fiom the iest of society.
Some of the inciuents of violence aie seen to be taking place in a context of ielative silence
in teims of the meuia anu civil society iesponse. While some inciuents have been aviuly
coveieu by the meuia anu have been given significant meuia space in all thiee languages,
othei inciuents have gone uniepoiteu. The meuia has a iole in iepoiting inciuents
iesponsibly anu in avoiuing conflagiating communal anu ieligious tensions, howevei the
failuie to covei paiticulai types of violence anu only caiiying specific ieligious anu ethnic
opinions anu viewpoints can only intensify public misunueistanuing. In othei instances the
meuia has given space to extiemist views anu theieby seiveu as a means to spieau hate
campaigns. The meuia neeus to exeicise caution anu gieatei iesponsibility in avoiuing
exaceibating tensions while maintaining public uebate on these issues.
Civil society gioups, incluuing piofessional oiganisations anu Nu0s, can play a iole in
incieasing public unueistanuing, sensitisation anu awaieness builuing, anu even in
meuiating between conflicting gioups. Euucation can play a significant iole in incieasing
exposuie of vaiious levels of society to the multi-ethnic anu multi-ieligious natuie of Sii
Lankan society, as a fiist step in stiengthening coexistence anu unueistanuing. Theie is an
uigent neeu foi an inuepenuently manageu uatabase to iecoiu inciuents of ieligious
violence, incluuing a mechanism foi people to iepoit inciuents to this cential bouy. Cleai
anu veiifieu infoimation will help uevelop a cleaiei pictuie of tienus in ieligious violence,
as well as suppoit uemanus foi iesolution of conflict. Such a uatabase woulu also
contiibute to bioauei uialogue on the subject. Theie is a iole to be playeu by the geneial
citizen as the lack of iesponse to the violence, hate campaign anu intoleiance uiiven by
ieligious extiemists anu otheis, is emboluening them fuithei. The iesponse can iange fiom
simple acts of 'un-fiienuing' inuiviuuals senuing hate messages on social netwoiks to
taking a public position as collectives of business chambeis oi teacheis to speak out against
this issue.
Successfully auuiessing the ieligious tensions piesent in Sii Lanka coulu go a long way
towaius ensuiing a smooth post-conflict tiansition anu contiibute towaius builuing a
society built on toleiance anu ieligious co-existence. Alteinatively, a failuie on the pait of
the uoveinment to confiont tensions anu to iesist the temptation to ignoie ieligious
conflict coulu leau to a iepetition of the past, wheie ioot causes anu symptoms of ciitical
pioblems aie not auuiesseu anu iesolveu but alloweu to intensify to a ciisis point anu
contiibute to a fiactuieu Sii Lanka.

Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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8,0#+ :3#D,U(3% ^(<,3)/)0 *+#$,& (- .,+/0/(1& 2(3&4/5

Religious places anu the fieeuom to piactice ieligion in Sii Lanka aie piotecteu in the
Constitution anu thiough piovisions in the Penal Coue.
The legal fiamewoik is bioau
enough in that it allows foi wiue inteipietation of how ieligion anu ieligious places can be
uefineu. Theie aie also a numbei of laws that ueal with the iegistiation anu auministiation
of places of ieligious woiship.
All of these laws govein auministiation of these places
only, anu uo not in any way iestiict the numbei of ieligious places, oi the locations wheie
they can be establisheu. Theie is no iequiiement to iegistei a place of woiship with the
goveinment. Bowevei, a ciiculai issueu in 2uu8 by the then ielevant ministiy titleu the
Ninistiy of Religious Affaiis anu Noial 0pliftment , has since maue it manuatoiy foi
ieligious authoiities to seek appioval fiom the Ninistiy befoie constiucting a new place of
As a iesult of the intensification of intei-communal tensions in eaily 2u1S, the
uoveinment has intiouuceu a new ciiculai iepoiteuly to fuithei outline the ciiteiion to
follow in the constiuction of places of woiship. Repoiteuly a committee compiising of the
uiiectois of the foui main ieligions will monitoi the implementation of this committee.

Theie aie no specific laws iegulating the use of lanu in places of ieligious woiship, but
geneial zoning laws aie applicable, incluuing laws goveining local authoiities such as the
0iban Councils 0iuinance of 19S9 (as amenueu). In Novembei 2uu7 the Supieme Couit of
Sii Lanka issueu a juugment on noise pollution applicable to noise fiom any souice
incluuing ieligious places. This iestiicteu the use of louuspeakeis between 1upm anu 6am,
anu the amplification of sounu beyonu the piecinct of a builuing.
Fuithei, the Antiquities
0iuinance No. u9 of 194u anu the Antiquities Amenument Act No. 24 of 1998 ueals with
the pieseivation of builuings anu sites of aichaeological impoitance, which has
implications foi ieligious sites of aichaeological significance.
0nce the Bepaitment of

Aiticles 12 ,Aiticle 1u anu Aiticle 14(i)(e) of the Constitution, Section 29u, 29uA anu 292 of the Penal Coue. Foi faithei uetail see
!"#$% '($)"*+(, -+."(/0/# 9%$2"3 +4 ("%0#0+63 *+(3809, CPA, Apiil 2u12. Foi a ciitique of the inteipietation given by the Supieme Couit
of Sii Lanka to these Constitutional Piovisions See Asanga welikala, "The Nenzingen Beteimination anu the Supieme Couit: A Libeial
Ciitique", The Baily News, 14 0cobei 2uuS, available at http:¡¡www.uailynews.lk¡2uuS¡1u¡14¡feau1.html

The Buuuhist Tempoialities 0iuinance of 1921, amenueu by the Buuuhist Tempoialities (Amenument) Act 1981, The Tiusts
0iuinance, the Nuslim Nosques anu Chaiitable Tiusts oi Waqfs Act of 19Su. Some places of ieligious woiship aie incoipoiateu thiough
Acts of Pailiament, oi unuei the Companies Act.

Constiuction of New Religious Places, Ciiculai issueu by the Ninistiy of Religious Affaiis anu Noial 0pliftment on 18 0ctobei 2uu8.

Kelum Banuaia anu Yohan Peieia, "uovt. takes steps to ease ieligious tension," Febiuaiy 2u 2u1S, page S

Alhaj N. T. N. Ashik anu otheis vs R.P.S. Bauula, 0.I.C. Weligama anu otheis, SC FR No.S8¡2uuS; See Full text of the Supieme Couit
juugment: http:¡¡www.islanu.lk¡2uu7¡11¡1u¡news9.html

The Antiquities 0iuinance No. u9 of 194u; The Antiquities Amenument Act No. 24 of 1998.

Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
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Page KK
Aichaeology has gazetteu an aiea as an aichaeological ieseive, no constiuction oi
uevelopment activity is alloweu within the aiea. Bowevei theie aie no piovisions in the
0iuinance anu in the Act to allow the Bepaitment to iemove illegally constiucteu in
aichaeological ieseives.

While the fiamewoik foi ieligious woiship is bioau, seveial aieas of concein have been
iaiseu iegaiuing implementation of the legal fiamewoik. In piactice, only mainstieam
uenominations of the foui main ieligions aie iecogniseu by the goveinment, both at local
anu national level. This has meant that new intia-ieligious uenominations uo not ieceive
state iecognition in piactice. Foi example, evangelical Chiistian uenominations iepoit
uifficulties in iegisteiing oi getting appioval foi new chuiches, compaieu to mainstieam
Roman Catholic oi Piotestant uenominations. Nainstieam ieligious authoiities also uo not
always iecognise newei uenominations anu may put piessuie on the authoiities not to
iecognise such gioups.
Some ieligious gioups, mostly Chiistian anu Nuslim, have also
been accuseu of 'unethical' conveisions of Buuuhists, Binuus anu othei Chiistians. An
attempt was maue by the }B0, to pass new legislation to ciiminalise ieligious
The constitutionality of the Bill was challengeu by seveial petitioneis
incluuing the Centie foi Policy Alteinatives.
The Supieme Couit in its uecision founu that
seveial clauses of the pioposeu bill |S(a) anu S(b), 4(b), S anu 6j violateu seveial
piovisions of the Constitution.
Bowevei a ie-tabling of an amenueu veision of the bill at
an appiopiiate time has not been iuleu out.

Religious gioups also iepoit the use of iegulations as a means to inuiiectly iestiict new
places of woiship. Bence, even though theie is no law pieventing the constiuction of new
places of ieligious woiship, theie aie iegulations that can be useu to iestiict such places of
woiship being appioveu by ielevant authoiities such as local goveinment bouies oi line
ministiies. Foi example, the 2uu8 Ciiculai mentioneu eailiei has been useu in attacks by
some gioups to question the legitimacy of existing ieligious places, along with othei
iegulations ielating to illegal constiuction, among otheis. The uoveinment also attempteu
to pass anu latei withuiew an amenument to the Town anu Countiy Planning 0iuinance

Inteiview with an official fiom the Bepaitment of Aichaeology, Septembei 2u12

0n Naich 17, 2uu7, the All-Ceylon }amiyathul 0lema issueu a ieligious ueciee to appeal to all Nuslims to "iefiain fiom associating in
any way with Qauiyanis alias Ahmauis in whatsoevei foim of mannei."

In 2uu4 the }B0 piomoteu 'A Bill on Piohibition of Foicible Conveisions of Religion', paits of which weie latei ueemeu
unconstitutional by Sii Lanka's Supieme Couit. Buuuhist gioups laigely suppoit anti-conveision legislation, while some Binuu gioups
nominally suppoit it. Nuslim gioups have not taken a public stanu on the issue, though seveial Nuslim leaueis expiesseu uismay. The
Chiistian community is uiviueu on the issue as the Catholic Chuich has on occasion expiesseu suppoit foi such a bill, while the othei
gioups aie not in agieement oi aie actively opposing it, especially the Evangelical gioups.

See foi the Petition anu wiitten submissions fileu by CPA http:¡¡www.lankalibeity.com¡legal¡inuex.html

SC SB 2 to 22 of 2uu4 available at http:¡¡www.lankalibeity.com¡legal¡SCueteimination.puf

Inteiview with a membei of the }athika Bela 0iumaya, Septembei 2u12

Attacks on Places of Religious Woiship in Post-Wai Sii Lanka
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, 2u1S

Page GLL
that woulu have given the Ninistiy of Buuuha Sasana anu Religious Affaiis sweeping
poweis ovei piivate lanu.
In the iecent past theie has also been a piactice of gazetting
aieas of ieligious significance unuei the Town anu Countiy Planning 0iuinance of 1946 (as
amenueu), as 'uiban uevelopment aieas' but iefeiiing to them as 'sacieu aieas'.
0nce an
aiea has been gazetteu as an 'uiban uevelopment aiea', theie can be no constiuction,
uemolition, alteiation, oi iepaiis to any stiuctuie in that aiea. Theie have also been
uisputes that have aiisen ovei allegeu encioachment anu illegal constiuction to aieas
gazetteu as aichaeological ieseives.
In many cases, implementation of legal iights to ieligious woiship appeais to uepenu on
local ielationships between ieligious gioups, local communities, goveinment officials anu
secuiity foices in some aieas such as the Noith. Attacks, both uiiect anu inuiiect, appeai to
be caiiieu out with gieatei impunity, anu a seeming lack of concein foi legal consequences.
This may be linkeu to the geneial ueteiioiation in iule of law, a geneial loss of confiuence
in the state secuiity appaiatus, anu iecent allegations of executive inteifeience in the
In some paits of the countiy, local goveinment officials, politically connecteu
inuiviuuals, anu¡oi the police aie accuseu of being iesponsible foi uiiect oi inuiiect
attacks, oi not uoing enough to auuiess uisputes.

The Bill alloweu foi the ueclaiation of piivate lanus as piotecteu aieas, conseivation aieas, histoiic aieas, anu sacieu aieas, thiough a
gazette notification. The teim sacieu aiea was not cleaily uefineu in the bill. The bill was withuiawn following a Supieme Couit iuling
that lanu was a uevolveu subject anu the Bill woulu have to fiist be iefeiieu to the piovincial councils; Namini Wijeuasa, 'Withuiawn:
nothing sacieu about sacieu aieas bill,' Lakbima News, 21 0ctobei 2u12:
aieas-bill&Itemiu=S6; W8" >"/=(" 4+( 1+%02B P%="(/$=0."3 H3 P==+(/"B -"/"($% (Town anu Countiy Planning Amenument Bill) (SC SB
uS¡2u11), http:¡¡www.cpalanka.oig¡the-centie-foi-policy-alteinatives-vs-attoiney-geneial-town-anu-countiy-planning-amenument-

Foi example- uazette No 1614¡6 of August 2uu9, No 16S1¡SS of Becembei 2uu9,No 1644¡S4 of Naich 2u1u anu No 17S2¡1 of Apiil
2u12. (Legal Fiamewoik uoveining places of ieligious woiship, CPA, Apiil 2u12.)

''The Piesiuent anu Sii Lanka's juuiciaiy'', The Sunuay Times, 14 0ctobei 2u12: http:¡¡www.sunuaytimes.lk¡121u14¡columns¡the-

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