In Ratnapura district, state officials have demanded that the pastor of a National Gospel Church in Nivithigala register his church – even though this is not a legal requirement. The church believes that Buddhist monks are pressurising officials to take action against them.
Our partners also report that a pastor in Padukka, Colombo district, narrowly avoided injury when a villager attempted to assault him with a wooden pole. The pastor was able to seek refuge in his church.
Earlier, also in Ratnapura, police had disrupted a Christmas Day service at the Shalom Christian Zion Full Gospel Centre in Balangoda and taken the pastor to their station by force. He was then charged over his refusal to comply with earlier official requests to stop all worship activities. He will be tried in May.
Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena came to power on January 8. In his election manifesto, he pledged to take action to promote religious freedom and to improve religious tolerance.
(Source: Release partners)
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