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The Killing of a Religious Leader in Jaffna
CEYLON 070131-1
January 31, 2007

A Statement by the Rt. Revd. Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo

[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] Nallathamby Gnanaseelan, the Pastor of the Tamil Mission Church in Jaffna and the father of four very young children, was recently shot and killed on a main street in Jaffna in broad daylight.

The appalling manner in which he was reportedly killed has greatly disturbed and shocked the community in Jaffna and all people of integrity and goodwill throughout the country, and indeed in many parts of the world.

There are conflicting reports of what provoked the incident and only an independent investigation will reveal the true circumstances. As a fellow Christian leader, I earnestly request the President to initiate such an investigation as the credibility of a religious leader and his Church will otherwise remain in question.

If there is any evidence, as alleged, of this Pastor's involvement with any militant groups or intended acts of violence, it should be disclosed. If not, his innocence must be declared, compensation paid to his family and appropriate action taken against the offenders.

I extend the condolences and prayers of our Church to Pastor Gnanaseelan's wife and children, and to the members of his Church.

Rt. Revd. Duleep de Chickera