On 18th of June, some lay members of the Bodu Bala Senawa group forcibly removed a moonstone or ‘sandakada pahana’ that lay at the foot of a statue of Mother Mary at Munhena, near Franciscans' House.
They charged that the moonstone was part of the Buddhist heritage and should not be at Catholic Churches. Catholics at Munhena say that this moonstone does not depict any Buddhist symbols.
Sandakada pahana, also known as Moon-stone, is a unique feature of the Sinhalese architecture of ancient Sri Lanka
The statue that was being repaired and given a facelift was to be blessed on 23rd June. After Bodu Bala Senawa removedon 21st June, a large crowd of Catholic devotees commenced a protest near the statue, demanding that the moonstone be returned and restored to its original position.
The situation became so tense that the police and riot squads moved in with tear gas to prevent major clashes. The area’s Divisional Secretary and local Government members also turned up at the scene. About three hours after the protest began, residents say four BBS members turned up at the protest and apologized to Fr. Jude TOR for removing the moonstone. The forcible removed moonstone had been handed over to police custody and the police in the area have decided to refer the matter to court.