Sri Lankan Monks Occupy Religious Ministry Building in Colombo

“Ravana Balaya has been accused of attacking mosques, churches and Muslim shops.” Image via the Associated Press.

This via Al Jazeera English:

Protesters led by Buddhist monks from the right-wing Ravana Balaya group have occupied the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo.

The Sinhalese Buddhist nationalist group protested on Wednesday against the creation of a new religious police unit, which was created in April this year in the wake of rising number of religious conflicts in recent years.

The general secretary of the group, Iththakande Saddhatissa Thero, said that they were protesting against the formation of the unit as it undermined religion in the island nation located at the southern tip of India…

Police spokesperson Ajjith Rohana told Al Jazeera that more than a 1,000 complaints had been lodged with the religious police unit, of which nearly 60 of them are currently being investigated.

He added that this unit had been formed with the sole intention of maintaining religious harmony in the Budhist majority country, with Hindus and Muslims comprising a quarter of the total population. He dismissed speculation that it would undermine the religious integrity of the country.

The last couple of years have seen an increase in attacks against Muslims and Christians in the country. Groups such as the Bodu Bala Sana and Ravana Balaya have been accused of attacking mosques, churches and Muslim business establishments.

Read the whole story here. I’ll post developments as they occur…

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