series of coordinated bombings struck three churches and three
At least 500 people were wounded in total of eight explosions. According to police several of the attacks were carried out by suicide bombers.
Most of the victims were killed in three churches where worshippers were attending Easter Sunday services.
Washington Post said: "the
suicide bombings on the holiest day of the Christian
Fewer than 8 percent of the roughly 20 million people in Sri Lanka are Christian (the vast majority of them Roman Catholic). Seventy percent are Buddhist, according to the country's 2012 census, 12.6 percent are Hindu and 9.7 percent are Muslim.
Violent attacks on this scale against churches are without precedent in Sri Lanka. The Christian minority, however, does face violence and discrimination, the Washington Post added and quoted human rights activist Ruki Fernando as saying:
"Church services across the country have faced some sort of disruption in each of the past 11 Sundays. Last year, the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka reported 86 verifiable cases of discrimination, threats and violence against Christians. Before Sunday's attacks, 26 such incidents had occurred this year, including the disruption of a Sunday service by Buddhist monks."
Radical Buddhism opposes converts
borrow Open Doors USA, those who convert to Christianity from a Buddhist or
Hindu background suffer the strongest
within the minority Tamil population in the northeast, Sinhalese are expected
to be Hindu. Non-traditional churches are frequently targeted by neighbors,
often joined by Buddhist monks and local officials, who demand Christians
Open Doors USA report pointed out that on September 9, 2018, a group of about 100 people stopped the worship service of a church at Beliatta, Hambantota District. They damaged a window, two motorcycles parked outside, and removed religious symbols hanging on the front door. Some forcibly entered the premises and threatened to kill the pastor and his family and demanded they stop gathering people for worship activities and leave the village.
The majority of state schools do not teach Christianity as a subject, and so Christian schoolchildren are forced to study Buddhism or Hinduism. There have also been reports that children were forced to participate in Buddhist rituals.
According to the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL), there has been a sharp increase of attacks on Christians, including violent attacks often carried out through mobs.
Attacks on Christian churches resumed in May 2009
Tisaranee Gunasekara, a Colombo-based
political commentator based in Colombo, following the 2009 victory over the LTTE (Tamil Tigers),
attacks on Christian churches resumed in May 2009. "Unlike during the previous
occasions, this time only evangelical churches were targeted. Days after the
Minorities are essentially outsiders, irrespective of how long they have been here. Sinhala-Buddhists are the sole owners of the country; minorities are not co-owners but guests, here on sufferance without inalienable rights, notwithstanding what the Constitution might proclaim, argues Tisaranee Gunasekara.