17 September, 2019

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A 14-Years-Old Student Is Tortured By A Buddhist Monk For Refusing To Learn Buddhism

By Asian Human Rights Commission

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that PG Amila Tharanga Thilakaratne (14) a Year 9 student of Mahanama College Geatambe in the Kandy District was severely tortured by his teacher, a Buddhist monk. Amila was persecuted on a religious basis and is thus a victim of religious intolerance. Amila has been raised Catholic, but attends a school in a predominantly Buddhist area, where the majority of students are practicing Buddhists. Amila was questioned by the Venerable Rahula Thero on Buddhist history, and when he told him that he followed the Christian faith, the monk beat him severely. He was admitted to the Kandy Teaching Hospital to receive treatment for his injuries, and is currently recovering in Ward 18 of the hospital. Corporal punishment is banned in all schools, remand centers and prisons in Sri Lanka. This act of brutality is a gross violation of Amila Thilakaratne’s human rights.

NARRATIVE:

According to information that the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received, PG Amila Tharanga Thilakaratne (14) a Year 9 student attending Mahanama College Geatambe in the Kandy District was tortured by his teacher, who is also a Buddhist monk, because he professed a belief in the Christian faith. His permanent address is: No: 28/1, Sarasavigama Mahakande, Hindagala, Kandy.

Amila Tharanga has five older brothers and one younger sister. His father is a mason working in building construction, and his mother is a homemaker. Amila Tharanga has been attending Mahanama College Kandy since Year One; his brothers have attended the same school. Mahanama College Kandy is a Buddhist school, and only Buddhism is taught in the school.

Although the state education department has ruled that children of faiths other than the predominant religion should have the right to learn their own religious teachings, abide by the codes of their religious practices and sit for school exams (circular 2009/10), these rights are often not respected and religious minorities, such as Catholics and Christians, are forced to learn Buddhism. Amila Tharanga and his older brother, Gashan, are discriminated against at school because they are not Buddhist.

On 11 June 2012, a Buddhist monk named Rahula Thero came to Amila’s class to teach Buddhism. Since Amila was the only non-Buddhist student in the class, he moved to the back row for the duration of the lesson. However, the monk has forced him to sit in the front row and asked him to recite the names of the Buddha’s parents. Amila replied that he is a Catholic. The monk told him that he should learn Buddhist teachings even though he is a Catholic, and severely assaulted Amila until the young boy was bleeding from his left ear. Rahula Thero and another teacher, Mrs Kokila, told Amila not to tell anyone about the assault.

For the rest of the day, Amila had to bear the pain without recourse to medical treatment. When Amila’s brother Gashan heard about the assault, he went to his brother’s classroom, but Mr. Thero saw Gashan and threatened to beat him if he entered the room.

After school, Amila went home and went to sleep for fear of informing anyone about the brutal assault. He began to vomit at around 7pm, and he told his father, P.G. Thilakaratne what had happened at school. The next morning, Amila’s father took his son to hospital. According to Mr. Thilakaratne, Mr. Thero threatened them with violence if they revealed what had happened to higher authorities.

Amila was placed in Ward 10 of the hospital. The next day, he was transferred to Ward 18. The officers at the hospital’s police post obtained a statement from Amila on June 13. Amila’s father, Mr. Thilakaratne filed a complaint with the Kandy Police (WCIB 1/84/16,) but so far, no investigation has been initiated.

Mr. Thilakaratne fears that his complaint will go unheard in a country in which Buddhist monks enjoy impunity for violent actions. He worries that Amila will not be able to regain his hearing, and will be expelled from his school for reporting the incident to the police. Mr. Thilakaratne seeks justice and redress for the violation of his child’s right to practice the religious faith of his choice. He seeks protection for his son and for witnesses of the crime by the state.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

The Asian Human Rights Commission has reported innumerable cases of in which students have been tortured in different schools across Sri Lanka. It is illegal under local and international law to physically harm any child.

The state of Sri Lanka signed and ratified the Convention Against Torture (CAT) on 3 January 1994. Following state obligations, the Sri Lankan Parliament adopted Act No. 22 of 1994, making torture a crime that is punishable for a minimum of seven years and not less than ten years if the suspect is proven guilty. The Attorney General of Sri Lanka is suppose to file indictments in cases where credible evidence has been found of people being tortured by state officers.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please send a letter to the authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case and requesting an immediate investigation into the allegation of torture by the perpetrator, and the prosecution of those proven to be responsible under the criminal law of the country for misusing powers of a state. The officer involved must also be subjected to internal investigations for the breach of the department orders as issued by the Educational Department.

Please note that the AHRC has also written a separate letter to the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment on this regard.

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Latest comments

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    I think sahana has a pedestrian attitude. If this arrogant student was beaten by another teacher no comments on http://www.kandydiocese.net either.
    This is a creation of unwanted problem by a third party.We require a king like dutugemunu for 21st century.

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      Well Anoma you have your Dutugemunu and King for 21st century on the throne. You must be happy with everything happening in the country.

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    You maybe surprised to know that police has not taken any action so far instead the Governor of the Central province has summoned the parents and Amila on the 26th June 2012 to his residence for negotiations.Where is the Rule of Law.

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    we have to protect children from the Buddhist monks and the Catholic priests. ha ha ha lol

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    The fault lies with the people who are ignorant, blind faith followers, human, animal worshipers and worse than animals. Imagine you are putting your head on the feet of a monk who is also a human, who carries in his belly all the dirt and many of these monks in their place of living doing all sort of dirty things which you and I dont ever do. As long as people falling on the monks feet, they will become humiliated let us not be fools to fall on the feet of the bloody monks who are the worst perpetrators of sex abuses and perverts. We only fall down to our Creator the Lord Almighty who created us all and we do not prostrate to any created things. That is the different that real prosper is in the land where the people worship only the Creator Almighty. Please wake up use your God given faculty of reasoning. Dont do what your forefathers did. Ask yourself. Can the monk bring back a dead man into life again? The answer is No. so the monk is a human created by the Creator Almighty (Sarwa Bhaladaari)

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    in the name of god, many are fooling you, look at sai baba who became an invalid who used to go in wheel chair. his plight is that he cannot pass urine imagine you go to him and fall on his feet what a lowly thing to do. We should only worship the One who Created, sustained, and in whose power the world exist. Think and ponder dont be naive and do foolish things. Look finally what happened to sai baba, he was a pervert but blind faith folks worshiped him but he could not live finally succumbing and dying who took his aatma? it is the Creator who is the Most Powerful Almighty (Sarwa Bhaladhaari) the Only One worthy of praise and worship.

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    I appose this. Also for the Buddhists to remember is that there are so many Buddhist schools and little amount of Christian/Catholic schools. If you wanted your child to study Buddhism, why the hell did you put your child into a Christian School!!! National School’s are NOT Buddhist schools however…. Prince of Wales College is a National School… Dharmaja is a Buddhist school…. This country fails when it comes to English and meaning of words.

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    Extremely suspect article ! jUST LOOK AT THE PHOTOGRAPH. You can clearly see that the image is doctored. Crispy clean board hanging above a ward bed, saying general surgery ! Yet another attempt by the underhand forces supporting the minorities to split the unity of Lanka. Its happening everywhere around the world. ‘Divide and Rule’ the time tested formula discovered by the European colonialists still fully functioning and active

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