A pastor of a Sri Lankan Christian church says he still fears for his life decades after his church came under attack by extremist Buddhist mobs.
Pastor Pradeep Kumara Kahandagamage, who has sought refuge in a Western country in 2017 due to threats to his life, says he is still getting messages asking him to withdraw his Fundamental Rights petitions filed seeking justice for the attacks.
He told “Sandeshaya by Saroj” YouTube channel that his wife and two children are still hiding in Sri Lanka.
The Jeevana Aloka church in Weeraketiya, Hambantota, came under mob attack on 08th December 2012.
Police and military watched as hundreds of mobs attacked his church, he says, and several leading Buddhist monks were seen leading the mobs.
According to pastor Pradeep Kumara, members of “Nil Balakaya” led by then ruling party MP Namal Rajapaksa and Bodu Bala Sena were among the mobs.
The mobs wanted the church be removed but he has refused.
Thereafter, on 18th March 2013, hundreds of mobs have tried to set fire to the church while his wife and two children were inside.
“They behaved like animals,” pastor Pradeep Kumara told the channel.
His wife has sustained injuries to her right eye in the attack but expresses gratitude to four policemen who saved their lives. As police failed to take any action against the mobs, the pastor has filed an FR petition at the Supreme Court.
“Everything changed thereafter,” he recalls. He was told – and threatened - to withdraw the petition not only by the suspects but also by the state counsel who represented him.
Pastor Pradeep Kumara has submitted a letter to Prince Zeid Al Hussein, the then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, when he visited Sri Lanka in February 2016.