SRI LANKA – Christians prevented from burying their dead
Buddhism extremism combined with increasing nationalism has led to an surge in Christian persecution. A leading human rights lawyer, whose name cannot be disclosed for security reasons, said there have been 120 known cases of persecution since the middle of 2015, in addition to many other cases that were not reported.
The situation in parts of Sri Lanka is now so bad that Buddhist monks even are preventing Christians from burying their dead. On one occasion a group of villagers gathered at a Christian burial and surrounded the public cemetery. “They started shouting “This is not a place you can bury Christians and we will not allow it.” When police arrived, they agreed with the mob, saying “You can bury the Christians elsewhere” in a place that was quite far away from the village. It is thought that Christians are being prevented from using public cemeteries to make them feel unwelcome in their own country.
A growing number of persecution cases are linked to local government officials, who have been closing churches and disrupting prayer meetings. In one case two Buddhist monks walked into a prayer meeting that a pastor was holding with some villagers. They shouted at him and threatened him. When the pastor went to the police to lodge a complaint against them, the police officer said “This is your fault, all of this is happening because of what you’re doing.”
Release International Chief Executive Paul Robinson said: “You don’t normally associate Buddhism with violence, but time and again we hear that it is Buddhist monks who are leading the attacks against Christians.”