For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
About 100 police officers who had arrived at a Christian church in Rajagiriya along with officials from Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Urban Development Authority (UDA) and had demolished the church yesterday (25).
The Calvary Church on 4th Lane in Rajagairya had been functioning for the past 25 years and it had been demolished claiming that it was an unauthorized structure.
Until the arrival of the police officers, no prior warning had been issued of plans to demolish the church calling it an unauthorized stricture.
The church that had commenced in 1985 has had a congregation consisting of about 150 families in the area at the time of its demolition.
The police had assaulted the church pastor, one Thiruchelvam, in front of devotees who had come to worship at the church when he had tried to reason out to the police that the church was not an unauthorized structure. He had said the church had paid taxes to the Sri Jayewardenepura Municipal Council since 1999 under the number 429/19.
The police had then attacked the devotees when they had asked if there was a court order to demolish the church.
About 100 police officers including a senior officer from the Police Headquarters and the OICs of Maharagama, Mirihana, Borella and Welikada had also been present when the church was being demolished.