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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2491

The Truth About "Attack on The Talahena CalvaryChurch" in Sri Lanka

The Centre for Buddhist Action

In mid-July 2008 emails were circulating among Christian circles both local and international, through their Christian news networks about "Sri Lankan Church Under Attack………..very serious…………" Commencing from 10th July when Ted Rubesh & George Niranjan Vice President/Gen. Supervisor Four Square Gospel Church Sri Lanka sent out a message of the Talahena Calvary Church coming under attack "…..by a mob of Buddhist monks and supporters just last Sunday."

Stories such as this is not strange to be circulated among Christian news networks because their intention as always is to show the international world that Buddhists and Buddhist Monks here in Sri Lanka are intolerant morons who do not respect minority religions! By spreading distorted "half truths" the Christian Churches both orthodox and "Born Again" Charismatic Churches hide the real truth and spread the lies to gain sympathy from their supporters and fellow Christians to build up an anti-Sri Lankan /anti-Buddhist propaganda network.

This is a very normal thing for the over zealous Christians who are attempting to make the entire Buddhist country of Sri Lanka into becoming Christian or Catholic with their so called “outreach programmes” through which they think and hope "they can save the heathen Buddhists and Hindus!" To them, except for Christians, all other followers of non-theistic religions (in reality Buddhism is not a religion but a philosophy) are "groping in a spiritual vacuum" which is far from the truth & that it the duty of such over zealous Christians to save us which is both hypocritical and ironic.

Even though it is a waste of time, to spend on these speculations it is also absolutely necessary to explain how these lies came into being. There is always "a cause" and an "effect" of what transpired and will transpire even in the future with these Evangelists and Missionaries who intrude and attempt to invade predominantly Buddhist villages and residential areas with attempts to "impose Christianity down our throats by force even when it is most unwelcome."

Sri Lankan Buddhists have been extremely tolerant and accommodating and our hospitality is all too well known. It is this hospitality and tolerance that has been abused and insulted by Christian invaders and the story of the Talahena Calvary Church coming under attack as is reported is one such example of how Pastor Roshan flaunted and abused Buddhist hospitality in the area in and around Araliya Pedesa, Talahena. Having transgressed, it is always easier to “cry foul” and relate a sob story to gain sympathy and the numerous Orthodox as well as “Born Again” Charismatic Churches operating in Sri Lanka have shown that they are extremely skilled in this art.

Background Information on The Activities of Pastor S.Roshan Andriesen at 3D,Araliya Pedesa, Talahena: Residents of Araliya Pedesa, Talahena are 98% Buddhists with only 3 families all of whom are immediate family members of Pastor Roshan being Christians. Residents of the surrounding locality outside Araliya Pedesa are 100% Buddhists.

1. About 7-8 years ago, Timothy Montessori was started by Pastor Roshan & his family at Araliya Pedesa.

All the children attending this Montessori are Buddhist children, total number of children being approximately 30. There are 2 teachers both being Christians.

Parents who send their children to this Montessori do it in the hope that their children will be given a good foundation in the basics of education but not to become Christian converts. However, it has been reported that Pastor Roshan and the teachers have been surreptitiously attempting to indoctrinate these children into Christianity and Christian habits and attempting to convert the families of these children as well.

2. During 2005-2006 Pastor Roshan had purchased 4 perches of land next to his residence with the address as 3-C1, Araliya Pedesa, Talahena and adjoining the Timothy Montessori on one side, and another residence on the other side.

Subsequently they had applied to the Urban Development Authority(UDA) in 2007 to obtain approval for a plan to construct a building on the 4 perches of land but the application had been rejected by the UDA. It is illegal to construct permanent residential buildings in land less than 6 perches. Even though their application had been rejected by the UDA, Pastor Roshan began to proceed with the construction work and made the neighbourhood learn that approval had been obtained to do such a construction. The building has a long hall and a stage/platform. Having completed the structure, the neighbourhood realized that the building was actually the so called Calvary Church with a huge Cross fixed to the back wall built to conduct prayer sessions.

The prayer sessions conducted on week days and Sundays became a nuisance to the neighbours and residents of Araliya Pedesa and the locality around because of the loudspeakers that were used here through which shouting and singing were being belted disturbing the sick, the aged and the infants who were residents within Araliya Pedesa and the locality around. In addition so called "healing through prayer" sessions also commenced to which they began to bring people from outside Talahena from areas like Malabe, Hokandara, Thalawathugoda. Unable to bear this noise any longer, the residents made complaints to the nearby Police Station and the UDA on the noise pollution which disturbed the peace and quiet of the area.

3. Magistrate’s Court Determination Against an Illegal Structure done By Pastor Roshan at 3-C1, Araliya Pedesa, Talahena (the Calvary Church Building)

The Urban Development Authority (UDA) which had originally rejected the application made by Pastor Roshan to construct a building at 3-C1 , Araliya Pedesa, Talahena sent inspectors to do an investigation in December 2007 during which it was revealed that the land in the said premises was owned by Pastor Roshan(not Calvary Church), that the application had been rejected by UDA originally, and that Pastor Roshan had illegally constructed the said building against the ruling given by the UDA.

A case was filed by the UDA against Pastor Roshan in the Kaduwela Magistrate’s Courts with Case No. 10171/8 in which he was given a ruling under point 5 of the Magistrate’s Determination that the structure was illegal and that it “must be demolished on or before 2nd April 2008” under Act No. 4 of 1982 and Act No. 44 of 1984 of the UDA Act which are Amendments to Clause No.28 (1) with special reference to sub-sections a, b, c of Act No.41 of 1978. The UDA by their letter reference 13/61/6774 (C) dated 18th March 2008 had also informed him of their decision.

Under point 7 of the Magistrate’s Determination the Petitioner UDA also declared that Respondent Pastor Roshan had disregarded the Order given to him.

4. Time and time again, the residents of Araliya Pedesa have repeatedly requested Pastor Roshan to stop the noisy Prayer Sessions and Healing Sessions because it was a nuisance to the sick, the aged and infants in the vicinity but he had disregarded and shown absolute contempt to their appeals. Residents have also made official complaints to the nearest Police Station which is Talangama Police but no action was taken by them.

5. 6th July 2008- The Build Up to What is Termed “Attack on Calvary Church ,Talahena”

On the evening of 5th July some hue and cry from Pastor Roshan’s house had been heard to the effect that someone had damaged a tiny part of the Cross inside their building. How on earth could anyone enter their premises without being detected except for the fact that they themselves got it done to enable them to make a complaint at the Police Station to get Police protection for their activities. Such instances are quite well known in this country where they themselves get the damage done to their so called Prayer Centres and then implicate Buddhists to be the suspects & culprits.

On 6th July 2008 some Buddhist Monks accompanied by the Chief Priest of the Buddhist Temple in the area visited 3C1, Araliya Pedesa to request Pastor Roshan to stop his activities at which time Pastor Roshan and a relative of his together with some female followers had attempted to pull the Chief Priest by the robe and assault him. When the onlookers saw this, naturally it was unbearable and uncontrollable as about 2-300 residents had gathered outside and witnessed the rude manner in which Pastor Roshan and his female followers had treated the Buddhist Monks. During an "exchange of words" between the Buddhist Monks and Pastor Roshan and his followers they had even stated "if necessary, we will get down even LTTE terrorists from Jaffna to attack if necessary !"

Talahena is a predominantly Sinhala Buddhist area and most of so called adherents that are brought to the Calvary Church of Pastor Roshan belong to the Tamil community whose true identities are not known by the residents. Given the security situation in the country, naturally the local residents are extremely apprehensive about total strangers entering their locality.

Till the crowd was dispersed Pastor Roshan and his father were seen walking around amidst the crowd and there was no sign of them having been beaten as is reported in the email circulated by the Christian News around the universe. However, much later in the evening even though the nearest Hospital to take an “emergency patient” was the Talangama Koswatte Government Hospital, they had opted on the advise of a friend to go to Kalubowila Government Hospital which is located about 10-15km away! The pictures taken showing Pastor Roshan lying on the ground were not incidents which took place while the crowd was supposed to have been attacking Pastor Roshan which means it “was staged” to show a morbid picture to the outside world.

Police Complaint Made by Pastor Roshan

In the complaint made by him to the Talangama Koswatte Police Station he had mentioned that he and his relatives had been assaulted and that he had been hospitalized as a result.

When asked to name any suspects, Pastor Roshan had listed out names of the residents of the entire Araliya Pedesa, Talahena as suspects which held no ground whatsoever. Some of the suspects named by him had not even been anywhere in the vicinity or even in Colombo for that matter! Most of the named "suspects" according to Pastor Roshan who had "apparently assaulted him" were retirees who were in the range of 56-75 years of age!

So it is quite obvious that dishonesty is very much a part of Pastor Roshan’s life style.

6. "Healing Through Prayers"- The Irony

Even though Pastor Roshan professes to be able to cure ailments through prayer and for which unsuspecting people are brought from outside the locality, it is highly ironic that his wife’s aunt who is a Buddhist married to a Christian and suffering from Cancer has so far not been cured by him. The patient is now in a late stage of the illness and had pleaded with the Chief Priest of the nearby Temple ( the Christian husband had actually gone to the temple to invite the Chief Priest) to visit their home and Chant Buddhist Suttras(Pirith) to her for her to get some consolation from the pains she was going through. Even though the family had attempted to assault the Chief Priest, he had very kindly consented to the request of a patient, visited the house and conducted Buddhist religious observances requested by the patient.

It seems ironic that Pastor Roshan has not been able to exhibit his talents at curing one of his own family members before he attempts to cure outsiders!

7. Agenda of Charismatic Churches with "Church Planting" in Buddhist Areas

Most of the disharmony between Christians and Buddhists/Hindus are initiated & created by the Christian Churches themselves-not by Buddhists living in those areas. The case in reference to Pastor Roshan and the Calvary Church at Talahena is one such example.

When a locality had 100% Buddhists or Hindus living in the area, suddenly we find a Charismatic Church entering the locality and erecting what they call "a community centre" first for them to enter the area. Then they begin to transport "lured followers" from outside localities to show the residents of the area in and around where the new centre has come up, that they have a following!

It is understandable if residents were a mixture of Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims of equal proportions for a religious place of worship for each different religious denomination to have their own places of worship. However, when only 3-5 Christian families where there are 1700-1800 families which are all Buddhists one wonders the hidden agenda of the Church to "Plant Churches" except that they intend to create disharmony within the village and divide it! Having entered such villages/localities if they even attempt to live in harmony, residents will tolerate them but what people experience in Talahena is the arrogance of Pastor Roshan coupled together with thuggery when he casts rude comments on passers-by insulting them whether they be Buddhist laymen or Buddhist Clergy of the area. Insensitivity towards the feelings of residents in the area can and will create a backlash which cannot be avoided.

- Asian Tribune -

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