The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, the Bishop of Colombo, has attacked proposed legislation before the Sri Lankan national parliament that will make "forcible conversions" illegal. Bishop de Chickera stated that the Bill - proposed by a party of Buddhist monks - would add to religious unrest.
The magazine of the Church of South India (United) 'CSI Life' said that the legislation would punish anyone found to have converted someone to a religion through force, allurement, or fraudulent means. It has been instigated - it was alleged - because evangelical groups had offered money to Buddhist families in order to get them to join their churches.
Bishop de Chickera was quoted in the magazine as saying, "There is a great possibility that the legislation could become counterproductive and further aggravate the situation."
In addition, the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka and the Roman Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka, backed Bishop de Chickera's stand, afterward issuing a joint statement that said, "...apart from the serious violation of personal freedom, it will pave the way for the oppression of minority religions in the country." Sri Lanka is 70 per cent Buddhist, seven per cent Christian.
The Church of Ceylon is Extra-Provincial to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Rowan Williams.