A fiberglass statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary worth thousands of dirhams installed on Saturday, on a bare land close to St. Mary’s school at Avissawella in Colombo district, was set on fire by saboteurs in the early hours of yesterday, the parish priest told The Island.
Close of a million had been spent by parishioners,overall, on this project, he said.
Police spokesman SSP Prishantha Jayakody said that this incident had taken place around 1.25 am.
Prior approval had been obtained by the parishioners from the Chairman of the Avissawella Urban Council to install the statue on this bare land and no objections had been there from any party, he said.
Parish priest said that the church was dedicated to Mary, ‘Mother of the Eucharist’ and in Sri Lanka, it was the only of its kind.
He said that they were making arrangements to celebrate the 150th Jubilee of the Church in the first week of October.
The church was very close to St. Mary’s school although the statue was installed behind the school and it was 70 feet away from Kegalla-Avissawella main road.
It could not have been an act of an old boy of the school, a parishioner who declined to be identified said adding that a person, running a grocery store near the bare land and closer to Avissawella police, was eying for it for some time and had scolded the priest in filth for the use of the land to install the statue.
Late last evening the police had arrested a suspect and further investigations are being conducted by Avissawella police on the instructions of DIG, Western Range.