11 December, 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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    This is getting out of hand, everywhere racist tensions discriminative remarks, as the wave is going on Buddhist way many Catholics are pretending to worship Buddha statues to show their neighbors, now no religious freedom, state & rule of law is idling.

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      catholics should kill at least one buddhist to make this country like miyenmar but srilankans are not fool.let us see what terror will be promote.

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        Why is Colombo Telegraph allowing comments that incite murder?!!!

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          This man cannot understand humour

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          suz learnt from bible “if someone slap one side of your face,give him/her the other side to slap it too” who comments in ct greater than jesus or suz.you are not following jesus.

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    Now with this case lets see what that woman Anoma Dissanayake of the NCPA would do, maybe she would take cover under this evil monks’s robe as she did for the Buddhist Monk who is forcefully torturing innocent tamil orphans to study buddhism when these innocent lives are mostly buddhist, what are the Educational and Police authorities doing without hanging this torturous monk by his neck and removing his robes. Did the Buddha preach to his descendants to torture innocent children to learn his dharma, shame on buddhist priests and the dhama.
    Now that this has been reported internationally another disgraceful case for SL, what action will the government and other government officials take to stop such torture, harassment and making children deaf and dumb, is that what the Buddha taught, its a shame to call our country a buddhist nation, we are a nation who have few yelow robed perverts in the system who must be driven from this country into the hangmens noose. What action has been taken to dismantle the Pahalagama orphanage in Gampaha after the sexisit rapist Pahalagama Thero was sentenced to jail in the UK courts. WHERE IS THIS WOMAN ANOMA DISSANAYAKE WHO IS SUPPOSED TO LOOK AFTER THE POOR ORPHAN CHILDREN AND CLOSE DOWN SUCH ORPHANAGES, SHE IS ALSO A WITCH IN DISGUISE CONDONING SUCH SHAMEFUL ACTS.

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      Helena W, Here HERE Here. Like to hear more voices like yours. H our buddhist brothers would rather keep mum about these allegations or they will speak in support of these child rapists and child abusers. Either they themselves were in this category or playing the Blind man’s buff . This minister if she tries to punish the prelates she most certainly would lose her post. These allegations are publicised by the true and honest website like Colombo Telegraph we are hearing more. In the main stream media these are not newsworthy . May be they are under the spell of fear psychosis.

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    How many incidents like this in rural schools could have gone unnoticed.

    • 0
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      This is just the tip of the ice berg…

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    Monk should be slapped till he bleeds in front of the public….

    Being a monk should know how to behave as a monk before he has been taught Bhuddism….

  • 0
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    this is crime in the name of buddhisam, Is this what buddha preached????

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    Why is that Mrs. Kokila wanted to cover up the yellow dressed Teacher, She must be having a very very special kind ness towards the Teacher more than the Injured child. Kokila do you have a soft corner for this yellow lover.Your Husband will know now if you have a husband. Feel sorry about it.

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      Idiot! Immediatly consult Psychatric specialist.

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    A Catholic myself, I wouldn’t rush to condemn this priest, for the reported story is one-sided.

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      Well done! You are brave.

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    Religious and ethnic intolerance is a part of the world’s order, condemned by every right thinking person. This alleged incident has not got publicity in the print media of Sri Lanka. However, it must be noted that every religion practiced in Sri Lanka advocates non-violence and as such all religious orders should expel from their fraternity those found tainted with violence, apart from legal action taken.

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    we have to protect children from the Buddhist monks and the Catholic priests. Aparakke Punananda Thero of the JHU abused under aged monks and still the justice was not served to the victims. A Catholic priest attached to the Loyola College Negombo sexually abused school children several years ago and now he is free at large predating children again. The Vatican hid all the records of child abusers (Priests) for over 20 years paralyzing the investigations. The Pope Benedict XVI was blamed for hiding these records.

    Do not trust any religious organization with children

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      Hela urumaya why don’t you say what happen to Apparakke Tero. This is why we don’t want these Yellow Robed men in the Parliment as they will get squeezed now and then.

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    My children are studying in an Anglican School. I am a Buddhist. They don’t learn Christian faith not Buddhism. Please don’t tell me Catholic schools in Sri Lank teach Buddhism. What I am opposing condeming is this stupid monk’s beating of the poor child. He has no right to beat the child. However the child mentioned should learn Buddhism in Buddhist school as my children are studying Christianity. Otherwise change the law for everyone.

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      Ajith – I don’t think you are being truthful. I studied in a Catholic School and studied Buddhism during religion period. All Anglican schools I know (quite a few) teach Buddhism to Buddhist children.

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    Added to that please name any Muslim school teaching Buddhism, let alone taking student’s from Other faiths. I am

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      That’s not true Ajith. I challenge you to name the school where your Buddhist children are ‘forced’ to learn Christianity. All Anglican schools teach Buddhism , Islam and Hinduism to children of the respective faiths. If you cannot name the school , then obviously you are lying!

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    Buddha is crying in Sri Lanka!

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    Why learning religion should be compulsory? Its time for people to choose whether they should learn a religion or not. My parents are Buddhists and should I learn Buddhism or any other religion. I have studied other religions and I prefer to not to follow any religion but to respect the human other human being.

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    Why learning religion should be compulsory? Its time for people to choose whether they should learn a religion or not. My parents are Buddhists and should I learn Buddhism as a compulsory subject or any other religion. I have studied other religions and I prefer not to follow any religion but to respect other human being.

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    These Buddhist monks are the Taliban’s of Sri Lanka.This Buddhist monk will never be punished.Poor boy Amila Tharanga.See the desperation/Sadness in his Fathers face.

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    Punishment is unjustified. But learning another religion by students from all faiths should be encouraged. Its like learning another language.

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      Gamaya

      Let the children learn humanity first and religion last.

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    Do Saint and Regular priest comes under same category, or do a Buddhist clergy who attain at least one of four Nobel Truth, and a day to day monk or even current highest ordinate Buddhist monk without attaining at least one of four Nobel Truth could be compare. so, we all make mistakes, first, step back and think what would Jesus might do in this situation, or Buddha or whomever the highest in your faith might do in this situation. Do not forget, we all human and like they said, making mistake is a human thing and forgiveness is a Godly thing.. What would you do??

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    If the practice of discrimination against ‘other religions’ in Sri Lankan schools is as widely manifest as some organisations claim, then the country will eventually become intolerable for ethnic or religious minorities to live in. Government authorities must ensure that Sri Lankan Buddhism does not become a reviled entity, as for many generations it had been the source of Sri Lankan resilience to external pressures, invasions etc., and it would be a great pity if it becomes a beast that will consume its own flesh.

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      Buddism was an external influence and popular among the then invaders, us!

      The purely original culture and faith had no place for well over 2500 years.

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    Although not forced upon like this, our buddhist, hindu kids who living in Western countries have to learn christianity and all the stories about Jesus christ. I do not see any probelm in this as we discuss with our children about our religion and about the humane nature of all the religious ledors.

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      Rubbish. Some, Don’t what you don’t know. Kids in western world have to learn all major religions in Schools.

  • 0
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    It is not possible for all religions to be true.

    It is possible for all religions to be false.

    • 0
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      You must really be ugly as your name suggests. I think religion is not false and it is there to guide people to love and respect each other. No one should consider themselves superior, except in their devotion to Almighty God.

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    Ajith , i was educated at a catholic school and trust me they teach Buddhism over there . However in the prominent Buddhist school next door they dont teach other religions . Funny eh ?

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    Ajith, don’t state blatant lies here. People commenting here are not fools like you. Name the Anglican school where your Buddhist children are ‘forced’ to learn Buddhism , my foot. I am an Anglican with two children who attend Anglican schools. I know for a fact that Buddhist children are taught Buddhism in these schools. No Anglican or Catholic school forces Buddhist children to learn Buddhism – Hindu and Moslem children are taught their respective faiths too. And anyway, why are Buddhists clamouring to enter Anglican and Catholic schools anyway? Baffles me.

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      S. Perera:

      It is not difficult to practice what the Church say. They sing, Dance and Socialize with girls and do lot of extra curricular activities.

      Through those things they convert. In other words, it is completely a CHEATING PROCESS. Even the what Pastor doing is CHEATING, I have experience both In Colombo and overseas.

      On the other hand, buddhism is very difficult to practice unless the devotee understands full well what he/she is doing.

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        As for conversions, the JHU cried out loud but was not able to prove a single case of so called unethical conversion. If someone converts out of conviction whether to Buddhism or Christianity, that’s a personal choice no one can do anything about. If as you say the Christians ‘sing and dance’ and ‘convert’, why do Buddhist parents queue up to send their children to Christian schools while very good Buddhist schools (that by the way do not take Christian children) exist? Baffles me again.

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    I think they will blame the Americans…

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    This assault of a child in school is serious and unacceptable. Especially by someone who is a monk of a religion that prides itself as a promoter of peace. In a just nation, when the boy reported this assault (or it was reported by others – including the other boys who witnessed the assault and other teachers who knew about it) the violent monk would have been arrested and questioned by police. If, as seems likely, the charges were proved, the priest (and the other teacher who attempted to silence the boy) should have faced the legal consequences of assault or grievous bodily harm (I’m not sure if this constitutes ‘torture’ as the article claims).

    The fact that these arrests have not yet been made reflects poorly on the nation’s judicial system that has so many people locked up without charge, but refuses to charge a violent man who assaults a child because he isn’t obeyed and then tries to terrify the child into silence.

  • 0
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    How many reports have written by this particular Human right business man with respect to child molesting for centuries, all over the world, in every country, and by many different Christian priests ?

    Has he written at least one ?

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    Mahanama was never a Buddhist school.It was called St John’s Getambe in the sixtees when my uncle was the principal.He is a Christian and the church of St John’s is situated within the school premises.The name of the school was changed to Getambe maha Vidyalaya and recently to Mahanama.Such things happen in our enlightened country.Likewise in Kandy St Scholasticas girls school became Hemamali and St Pauls College became Wariyapola Sri Sumangala.Authorities were not sensitive to people of other faiths feelings.

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    buddhism is the easy target do destroy. please do it. sinhala sinhala/sinhala muslim/sinhala tamil/buddhist christian please do it. destroy sri lanka. please do it. if you happy please do it. thats all i understand when i read your news. thank you!!!

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    Why did this monk do this? What is important is the intention. Is it because he wanted to forcefully teach Buddhism against the wishes of the child and his parents, with the ulterior motive of conversion, or, was it some kind of pedophile act to gain pleasure by inflicting pain on the child, and satisfy his carnal cravings? Whichever it is, both are wrong and are punishable acts, but by what measure of degree is the question. The latter is more heinous and deserves capital punishment, but difficult to prove since these are only thought provoked, unless a pattern of such behaviour with other children, irrespective of religious background is proven. If it is the former, then it can be considered a lesser offence, caused due to over enthusiasm to educate a no-buddhist adherent on Buddhist virtues. Beating and praising children is goodfor motivation, not to get beaten creates a will to succeed. It happens in all teaching institutions, Muslim Madrasas, temples, Monasteries, etc. But such beating should be within limits, and exercised only under extreme circumstances. It can be administered with a thin cane, and should not be done with intent to cause harm nor intense pain, but only to chide them towards discipline, respect for authority, and improvement in studies.

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    Thikakarathna family converted to penthacostha christianity from buddhism because they receive toilet facility from them few years ago. So they shoud dance according to their rhythm.The truth is always hidden. The eldest brother of the child has killed his own wife. Anyone can understand the real situation by considering their background. This is only an action to spoil Buddhism and to get a publicity of their low level religous activities.

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      Your problem is conversion of the child and not him being beaten up by a Buddhist monk? This is the trouble with your mentality – anything the monks do, you endorse. You have a middle ages mentality and cannot bring yourself to criticize the monk but the poor child’s conversion. What has that got to do with what happened here?

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      So your problem is the child’s conversion and not the monk beating up the child? This is the trouble with this country – you cannot face the truth and deal with it. What has the child’s conversion got to do with him being beaten up by a Buddhist monk? The child has a right under the constitution of the country to follow a religion of his choice. The monk has no business to force Buddhism upon him and certainly no right to assault him. If this happened in a Colombo school, it would certainly go to courts. As long as people like you will not have the courage to admit it, Buddhist monks who do wrong continue to do wrong because they know no one will ever hold them accountable in this country.

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    This was not a matter of Buddhism or Christianity.Real story was hiding and fabricating another by a third party to fulfill there low level intentions.
    Teachers will never beats student for accomplish there own agendas. students should respect teachers and give a calm environment for carry out there duty.
    I think mahanama should face for this till an end and give a lesson to all robs who involve with this directly and indirectly. Otherwise human right commission would always be busy with these type of fabricated stories.

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      I don’t know what you want to say – your language is all garbled but I think I believe you are trying to justify what took place. Why can’t you call a spade a spade? If a Buddhist monk or a priest of another faith beats up a child, that is wrong – where is the so called ‘calm environment for learning’ you talk about? This is clearly not a fabricated story but because it involves a Buddhist monk, you must display your pedestrian attitude about not blaming a monk. This is the 21st century, not Dutugemunu’s era. Please grow up.

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