Jan 13, Colombo: Sri Lanka police have identified 24 suspects in the attack on a Christian prayer center in Hikkaduwa Sunday and eight Buddhist monks are among the suspects.
Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana told media that a list of suspects has been compiled and action will be taken to arrest the suspects and produce in court.
A violent mob led by a group of extremist Buddhist monks and laymen attacked two Christian religious centers in Hikkaduwa yesterday and damaged the property and threatened the residents.
The monk-led mob resisted the police and destroyed the property hurling stones at the two prayer centers. They broke doors, windows and burnt religious signs and books.
The attack was caught on video by media outlets and broadcast in the evening news.
The police spokesman admitted that the police were present but not in sufficient numbers to stop the violence.
The Buddhist monks that led the protest claimed that the administrative authorities had ordered the prayer centers closed but the pastors in charge of the centers said they were registered duly and the eviction order is illegal.
The Hikkaduwa police are conducting further inquiries.
The rising religious intolerance from extremist Buddhist monks-led organizations in Sri Lanka has raised alarms among the moderate public and if authorities fail to take adequate measures to curtail the violence the actions of these extremist groups would have serious consequences, civil society leaders warn.