Rome, Italy, Dec 11, 2009 / 10:59 am
More than 1,000 Buddhist extremists armed with clubs, swords and stones ferociously attacked a Catholic church in the town of Crooswatta, Sri Lanka on December 6, destroying the altar, statues and pews.
L’Osservatore Romano reported that Father Jude Denzil Lakshman, pastor of Our Lady of the Mystical Rose, said “I still can hear their shouts in my ears, ‘Cut him to pieces, kill him’.”
The attack took place after the 7 p.m., Sunday Mass, leaving several parishioners wounded. “It is obvious that the attack was well-planned and that the mob waited for us to come out after Mass,” Father Lakshman said.
One parishioner told the Archdiocese of Colombo that as the congregation was leaving the evening Mass, they saw a mob coming towards them.
The parishioner added that the mob “set fire to Fr. Lakshman's car and then someone attempted to strike him with a sword,” but a young man heroically pulled him away.
The extremists “then damaged all other motor bikes, ordinary cycles of the poor people including a three-wheeler. Some persons armed with swords and batons went on beating the people. There are six Catholics in the hospital with cuts and injuries."
The archdiocese noted that Air Force personnel were deployed immediately to bring the mob under control. Guards are still in the area to guarantee the safety of the faithful, which include 293 families.
As of now, police have arrested 11 suspects from Buddhist extremist groups that have attacked the church in the past.