The President of the Methodist Church in Sri Lanka is accusing a Member of the Anuradhapura Municipal Council from the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna of leading a group that has repeatedly attacked one of their worship centers in Kumbicchankulama over the past few weeks.
Methodist Bishop President Asiri Perera told reporters today (18) that Municipal Councilor Nalin Siriwardene of the SLPP had been present during an attack on the worship center on March 31st.
The same person had been the vocal leader of the group at the Police station yesterday when the two groups had been summoned to try and reach a settlement.
Rev Perera met with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundera this morning at Temple Trees where the Police Chief had assured the Bishop that the perpetrators of the attack would be arrested and produced before a Magistrate today.
Police said six persons who are suspected of being involved in the incident were produced before a magistrate this morning. They have been noticed to appear before the courts on May 2.
The pressure was brought on the authorities to take note of the complaint by the Methodist congregation who contacted “various parties they knew,” Rev Perera said.
Among those who had called the Bishop had been the former Defense Secretary and presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The Bishop said Rajapaksa had sent a representative to meet him at the police station and later he had received a call from senior Anuradhapura politician MP S M Chandrasena who is also associated with the SLPP. The Bishop said Chandrasena had categorically denied one of their party-men were involved in these attacks.
At yesterday’s meeting at the Police station the two parties were unable to come to a settlement. The Bishop said the Headquarters Inspector had called him and asked him to come to the station for 10.am but the officer had not been present and did not arrive even at 2pm when he left the place.
“I am disappointed that the police who should treat all communities in an equal manner did not extend due courtesy to us,” he said.
Eventually the statements had been taken by a Sub-Inspector after the Bishop had refused to accede to the demand that worshipers from other villages be prevented from attending services at this center. Perera said that was an unacceptable condition.’
Bishop Perera came under attack personally on Sunday the second major attack on the institution. He was surrounded and threatened with violence and when he went into the center the mob barred him from leaving by locking the gate from the outside, he says.
He was rescued by police who arrived after he had telephoned the DIG in charge of the North Central Province, he says.
The place in contention is a small institution known as Aadara Sevana in Kumbichchankulama on 27 perches of land.
It provides training for differently-abled and hearing-impaired children to be self-sufficient and has been running for the past 16 years, he said.