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* Sri Lankan court orders arrest of church attack suspects
Thu, Jan 16, 2014, 11:13 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 16, Galle: A Sri Lankan court today ordered the police to arrest the suspects of the attack on two churches in the South.

The Galle Additional Magistrate Gunendra Kumara Munasinghe today ordered the police to arrest the suspects involved in the Hikkaduwa church attack, police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said.

The police had identified 24 suspects including 8 Buddhist monks in the Sunday's attack on two Christian prayer centers at Hikkaduwa in Galle district.

A monks-led mob attacked the Calvary Free Church and Assembly of God Church in Hikkaduwa and damaged the property while threatening the residents. The attack was caught on video by media outlets and broadcast in the evening news.

The Buddhist monks of the Hela Bodu Pawura organization that led the protest however, claimed they were protesting peacefully.

The Magistrate also ordered the police to obtain the unedited video footage of the incident from media outlets for investigations.

The monk group says 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 rising religious intolerance from extremist Buddhist monks-led organizations in Sri Lanka rings alarm bells 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 say.

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