By BBC SINHALA –
A senior Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka who led the protest in Dambulla against a mosque and a Hindu Kovil charged the video footage reporting the attack was fake.
Over a thousand people waving Buddhist flags forcibly stopped Friday prayers in the Masjidul Kairiya mosque in Dambulla and destroyed the contents of the mosque.
Peaceful and democratic
The Mahanayaka of the Rangiri Dambulu chapter Inamaluwe Sumangala thero told BBC Sandeshaya that he only led a ‘peaceful and democratic protest against illegal constructions’.
He maintained that no violence was used.
Media organisations denied doctoring footage of the attack on the Dambulla mosque last week.
The convenor of the Free Media Movement (FMM), Sunil Jayasekera said the claim by Ven. Sumangala is an attempt to cover up the violence unleashed against the minorities in the country.
“Videos that portrayed the protest as violent were technically manipulated,” said the Mahanayaka thero who also heads a media outlet.
“We saw the video footage on several television stations and have no reason to believe that the images were doctored.” said Jayasekera.
unprecedented behaviour by monks
Ada Derana TV which reported the attack on the mosque denied the allegation that the videos were technically manipulated.
“We have not carried any doctored footage of the Dambulla violence and we stand by the authenticity of the material sent by our local correspondents,” a spokesperson for Ada Derana told BBC Sandeshaya.
The raw footage had to be edited to maintain the dignity of the people who participated in the protest, added the spokesperson.
Journalists at the scene had reported unprecedented behaviour by demonstrators.
BBC’s Charles Haviland in Colombo says that a monk was seen exposing himself against the mosque as an insult.