According to the NCEASL, both churches were engaged in Sunday morning worship when at approximately 10.00 a.m., mobs of about 300 persons led by Buddhist monks stormed the respective churches. The first to be attacked was the Assemblies of God, followed by the Calvary church. Serious damage was caused to the two buildings. Stones were thrown at the premises while some worshippers were trapped inside.
The previous night, the pastors of both churches received information of the impending attacks. They went ahead with the worship services based on the guarantee that there will be police protection for the services, says the NCEASL.
The protesting monks included Buddhist clergy from a group calling themselves ‘Hela Bodu Pawura’ as well as monks from Hikkaduwa and nearby temples. They claimed the Christian presence was illegal. The protesters obstructed the Galle – Colombo main road, creating a tense situation in Hikkaduwa. The situation prevailed past noon, with the Police unable to disperse the mob. A senior police officer who arrived at the scene gave an undertaking to the monks that the churches will be closed for 2 weeks (until 10th February), during which time a solution will be sought. The mobs then dispersed.
24 suspects including eight monks have been identified the Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said today