The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Venomous Distortions of The Catholic Church To Insult Buddhist Monks

"All In The Name of Inter-Religious Amity"
Venomous Distortions of The Catholic Church To Insult Buddhist Monks-2

By The Centre for Buddhist Action

Asian Human Rights Commission-Urgent Appeals Program had circulated an email worldwide calling readers "to send a letter to the local authorities to suspend Ven.Harankahawe Chandrawimala's service at school and to conduct impartial inquiries into this matter." It is a shame that a reputed organization such as Asian Human Rights Commission would circulate such an appeal without first checking the accuracy of the allegations leveled against the Ven. Monk unless ofcourse, the AHRC is also one of those organization promoting Christianity and antagonistic towards other religions especially Buddhists and the Buddhist Monks which are hell bent on venomously attacking and insulting the Buddhist Clergy in Sri Lanka. Whatever the case may be, the motive of the distortion is quite clear when reading through the allegations and comparing it with what the Venerable Monk himself has to say of the story speculated worldwide.

Distortion no. 1 is that Ven. Harankahawe Chandrawimala Thero never ever worked in Moneragala Vidyalaya as stated in the article below as "Monerangala Vidyalaya" and therefore, he was never transferred out of that school due to allegations of misconduct!

The contents of entire letter relating to incidents at Ampitiya Berawattes College circulated by "Asian Human Rights Watch Urgent Appeals Programme" is a series of false allegations purely because the Ven. Monk stood his grounds and did not permit the Catholic Church to have their own way in interfering in the school which incidentally had approx.1500 students of whom the majority were Buddhist with only 40-50 approx. Catholic students! Of the teaching staff 80% are Buddhists while only 20% are Catholics.

Ven.Harankahawe Chandrawimala Thero was on the staff of Ampitiya Berawattes College from 2001-2005 and from then on he has been teaching at D.S.Senanayake Vidyalaya to date.

Ampitiya Berawattes College was founded by Reverend Father Berawattes(Catholic Priest) and was the original Ampitiya Seminary under which the school was managed, but during the schools take-over in the early 1960s, the government took over the management of the school as the number of Catholic students attending was insufficient (Buddhist students were in the majority even then) for it to continue as a Catholic School managed by the Church. The Ampitiya Catholic Seminary continued to be within the land premises of Berawattes College. Originally the extent of land which belonged to Berawattes College was 19 ½ Acres but the Catholic Seminary has been encroaching and building Churches inside the premises thereby reducing the extent of land left for the school presently being only 5 Acres! After the schools take over in the 1960s the school was named Ampitiya Maha Vidyalaya. The Junior School was named as Dharmapala Junior School.

14 years ago, the Catholic Church began to interfere in the activities of Ampitiya Maha Vidyalaya and with the manipulations and connivance of the regional educational authorities and the Principal of the school at the time, it was named "Berawattes College" and a statue of Father Berawattes holding a Bible was erected in the school premises. The Dharmapala Junior School has been taken as part of the main school and is part of Berawattes College. With this, the Catholic Church began to organize the Christianization of the entire school activities in a school which had a majority Buddhist student and staff population. The building that was allocated to be the school library was converted into an area where prayer sessions and Christianity classes were conducted and Buddhist children were also being forced into studying Christianity with a view of converting them. It was during this period that even the School Song was changed to include the name of Berawattes College instead of continuing with the old Maha Vidyalaya School Song!

The Rest Room set aside for Buddhist Monks (there were 2) Ven. Mungwatte Dhammananda Thero and Ven. Harankahawe Chandrawimala Thero was closed down on the pretext that it was to be made into a museum room to exhibit the history of the school and the two Bhikkus were shut out from using it thereafter and had no Rest Room. The church influenced Ven.Mungwatte Dhammananda Thero to the extent that he eventually disrobed and became a Catholic and he was used against Ven. Harankahawe Chandrawimala Thero.

The Teacher's Quarters when it fell vacant when the teacher occupying it went on transfer was taken over by The Seminary through a Parliamentary Gazette Notification on the grounds that there was no necessity for such quarters during the period approx.2002(later)-2004. At the time Catholic politicians like Dr.Jayalath Jayawardane began to write to the school suggesting that the Teacher's Quarters be handed over to the Carmelite Sisters/Convent. During this time, Ven. Harankahawe Chandrawimala Thero was vehemently opposed to this move since he felt that the Teacher's Quarters must continue to be used for that purpose. He went to Courts and managed to get a Court Approval to give the use of the Staff Quarters to another teacher of the school and his family instead of being handed over to the Carmelite Convent.

Subsequent to obtaining the Court Order to give back the use of Staff Quarters to the teachers, Ven. Harankahawe Chandrawimala Thero who saw through the Catholic agenda, organized to erect a Buddha Statue with a glass enclosure and work on the "Budhu Medura" was completed within the school premises so that the Buddhist children could offer flowers and conduct Buddhist observances instead of having to follow Christianity and be converted into Christianity. It was through this period, that the Catholic Church commenced their aggressive harassment campaign against the Venerable Monk because the Monk blocked the agenda of the Church within the school premises! A Catholic Nun on the staff, objected to children plucking flowers in the mornings to offer at The Budhu Medura and this angered the Monk who went and questioned as to who stopped children from offering flowers? The said Nun subsequently had instructed some other students to uproot all the flower plants and throw them into the rubbish heap! When the Monk got to know this incident, he had scolded the Catholic Nun as to why she should be so wicked as to get the plants uprooted ( this probably is what the Asian Human Rights Watch claims to be "mental and physical harassment of teachers"!) On another occasion, another Catholic teacher by the name of Shyamalie Bandara had used very abusive language and insulted the Monk to which the Monk had told the School Principal that he demanded an apology from the said teacher, failing which he would go on a hunger strike until the said teacher was reprimanded (this again is used in a distorted version by Asian Human Rights Watch). Subsequently, as there was no way out the teacher had made a very unwilling apology to the Ven. Monk. Another Catholic teacher by the name of Sachini Surasena was also involved in using Buddhist children(on the sly) to teach them Christian hymns, Scripture and training them for Nativity Plays without permission from the Monk who was their Buddhism teacher.When the Monk heard of this practice, he had actually pulled up the Buddhist children because their parents would eventually find fault with the Monk for not checking their children's activities.

When the Church pressures could not deter Ven. Harankahawe Chandrawimala Thero's activities to safeguard the Buddhist children and their activities in the school, the Church paid Rs.40,000/= to another teacher who appeared to be a Buddhist, to make a complaint at the Police Station against the monk on allegations of sexual misconduct against a student but on examination the OIC found that the charges were unfounded and the matter was dropped. This same teacher had on one occasion invited the Monk to Dane subsequent to which on a later date had brought a plate of boiled Jak fruit and offered it to the Monk as a special offer of Dane. A few days after consuming this boiled Jak, Ven. Chandrawimala Thero had fallen seriously ill with a urine infection which developed into a serious kidney complication. The Medical Officer who attended to Ven. Chandrawimala Thero had diagnosed his condition as food poisoning after conducting various tests. The kidney condition worsened to the extent that the Monk had to travel to India and get a kidney transplant operation done! Now it would be obvious to the readers as to who harassed whom? After he became sick, it was the Venerable Monk who feared for his life at the hands of the Catholic Church and its well known conspiracies!

The allegations stated in the Asian Human Rights Watch "Denial of the children's freedom of religion and degrading treatment" in which they state 2 incidents of Ven. Harankahawe Chandrawimala Thero having instructed Catholic children to draw a Cross and Bible on the sand/ floor and walk over them and then to insult them by criticizing them- are total fabrications which the Venerable Monk had never done! At the beginning of letter circulated by Asian Human Rights Watch-Urgent Appeals Programme where it is stated in the 2nd paragraph (quote): "More seriously, it is alleged that Ven Harankahawe Chandrawimala assaulted two his fellow teachers physically and mentally several times. One of the two teachers made a complaint to the police station but there has been no serious action taken by the police yet. Even though parents of the children have made several written and oral complaints to the principal, nothing happened to correct this matter. Now the children's parents fear that their children would soon become victims of rape or torture if this matter is not settled immediately" (end quote) is a total fabrication and a method of trying to instill a fear psychosis in the minds of the readers. Are we to believe that, had the Monk truly acted in the manner he is being accused of, that disciplinary or legal action would not have been taken against him? His crime, was that he stood for what was ethical in terms of safeguarding the interests of the Buddhist teachers and students of Berawattes College.

The aggressive character assassination campaign carried out against Ven. Harankahawe Chandrawimala Thero is because the said Monk made every effort to stop the Catholic Church from interfering in the internal administration of Berawattes College and efforts to convert Buddhist children unethically-a ploy not new to the Catholic Church as we have seen in the recent past when they attack Buddhist Monks and Temples.

The duplicity of The Catholic Church is visible in every action of theirs and the efforts they make "religious amity by establishing "inter-religious committees" and "inter-racial committees" is merely to hoodwink the public and demean the Buddhists of this country-nothing else. Religious amity has always been shown by Buddhists until Christian groups began to undermine the status of Buddhism in this country and conduct unethical conversions!

Presently Ven.Harankahawe Chandrawimala Thero is not even employed at Berawattes College and it a question as to why this kind of message is being circulated by AHRC now in 2007 if there was any validity to the story given below?


The message circulated worldwide as it appeared: (Quote)
URGENT ACTION URGENT ACTION URGENT ACTION URGENT ACTION URGENT ACTION

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAM

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a primary school teacher Ven Harankahawe Chandrawimala (Buddhist monk) has allegedly harassed children physically and mentally including in sexual ways, and consistently denied their religious freedom for last two years.

According to our source who followed up the case, child abuse by Ven Harankahawe Chandrawimala is explained in 20 odd ways. Also, it is reported that he had been transferred from the previous school in Monarangala Vidiyalaya for charges on child abuse. More seriously, it is alleged that Ven Harankahawe Chandrawimala assaulted the two his fellow teachers physically and mentally several times. One of the two teachers made a complaint to the police station but there has been no serious action taken by the police yet. Even though parents of the children have made several written and oral complaints to the principal, nothing happened to correct this matter. Now the children's parents fear that their children would soon become victims of rape or torture if this matter is not settled immediately.

Please send a letter to the local authorities to suspend Ven Harankahawe Chandrawimala's service at school and to conduct impartial inquiries into this matter.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
-----------------------------------------------------

DETAILED INFORMATION:

Name of victims: 1. Students of age 06 to 13 (year 01-08) at the primary school attached to the Ampitiya Berawattes College, 2. Ms. X, 24, a fellow teacher, 3, Ms. Y, A catholic nun and volunteer teacher of the school (Names were withheld for victims' security)
Alleged perpetrator: Ven Harankahawe Chandrawimala, 45, a Buddhist monk and teacher of the primary school attached to the Ampitiya Berawattes College
Place of abuse: the primary school attached to the Ampitiya Berawattes College
Period of abuse: Since in the end of 2002 until now


Case details:

Primary school teacher Ven Harankahawe Chandrawimala has allegedly been accused of harassing children and denying their religious freedom at the primary school attached to the Ampitiya Berawattes College since the end of 2002. Moreover, there is allegation that he has sexually harassed the students continuously. Ven Harankahawe Chandrawimala has a history of child abuse. (He was transferred from the previous school in Monarangala Vidiyalaya for charges of child abuse.)

The school was by founded by Fr Berawattes but the school administration was taken over by the Sri Lankan government when the catholic students became a minority in the school in 1962. 70 catholic students are currently studying in the school. In 2001, Ven Harankahawe Chandrawimala (a Buddhist monk) was transferred to the school. According to the testimony of the students, his harassment of the children started in the end of 2002.

Denial of the children's freedom of religion and degrading treatment

Ven Harankahawe Chandrawimala has harassed the catholic children in all forms. Below are just a few examples of them.

1. On 8 February 2004, Ven Harankahawe Chandrawimala ordered the catholic students of year 06 to go out of classroom and draw a cross in the sand. He then made all the children jump across it and remarked that the catholic children paid no respect to the cross.

2. On 11 February 2004, Ven Harankahawe Chandrawimala ordered some catholic children to draw a bible on the floor. Then, he ordered the catholic students of year 07 to walk on the bible while degradingly making a mockery out of it.

It is reported that he has told to the children that Christ is a terrorist, murderer and womaniser. (end quote)

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