The Attorney General informed the Supreme Court today that the CID has already initiated an investigation against Pastor Jerome Fernando over his hateful remarks against religious harmony in the country.

Senior Additional Solicitor General (SASG) Priyantha Nawana, appearing for the Attorney General, made these remarks when the Fundamental Rights petition filed by a group of religious leaders seeking an order directing the IGP to immediately arrest Pastor Jerome Fernando was called before the Supreme Court.

The petitioners, Ven. Elle Gunawansa Thera, Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka Thera, Ven. Angulugalle Sri Ginanada Thera, Rev. Father Nishan Cooray, Dr Sivasui Ramachandra Kurukkal Babu Sharma, and Al-Haj-As-Seyed Hassan Moulana AlQuadri, filed this petition naming Pastor Jerome Fernando, IGP Chandana Wickramaratne, and several others as respondents.

In response to the reliefs sought by the petitioners, SASG Nawana informed the court that the CID has already commenced investigations against Pastor Jerome for insulting other religions and for the alleged commission of offences under Section 291B of the Penal Code and Section 3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act of 2007. President’s Counsel Sanjeeva Jayawardena, appearing for the petitioners, informed the court that no meaningful action has been taken against Pastor Jerome despite President Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Minister of Public Security, the Minister of Religious Affairs, as well as the director of CID and the police spokesman, having all previously stated that due action would be taken, although the insulting comments had taken place as far back as the 30th of April.

Jayawardena submitted to the court that Pastor Jerome had grievously insulted, ridiculed, and scorned the four major religions of the country, namely Buddhism, Hinduism, Catholicism, and Islam, as well as the followers of those faiths, and effectively implied that they were totally misguided and without salvation.

“Pastor Jerome has jeered at the sacred Hindu gods and asked why do Hindus venerate so many animals and why do they have a god that looks like an elephant and why do they have gods with ten thousand hands and also stated with regard to Catholics that if you have faith in the pope, that there is no hope and had also undermined mother Mary and the Catholic saints and with regard to Buddhism, that the Buddha may have been enlightened but that he was actually looking for the superior light of Jesus and that the Buddha was looking for Jesus and that this is why Buddhist need Jesus and with regard to Islam, he had stated that there are 99 names for Allah but that none of them mean or refer to love,”. Jayawardena, PC, added


Sanjeeva Jayawardena PC further submitted that after the debacle of the Easter bombing, it has taken a long time to restore interreligious harmony in the country and that Pastor Jerome’s actions have the effect of undermining this. He stated that this has been raised even at the national security council and that all the inter-religious leaders and the general public have denounced and condemned these actions. Therefore, he stated that he is satisfied that although SASG disclosed that investigations are on and that facts have been reported, there can be threats of these investigations being swept under the carpet, and therefore, to be meaningful, these investigations and actions under the law must necessarily continue to their conclusion under the law. SASG accordingly submitted that the investigations would duly continue and that appropriate action would be taken in terms of the law. The petition was fixed for support on July 28.