Controversial Pastor Jerome Fernando Faces Overseas Travel Ban Over Remarks on Religions
Colombo, May 16, 2023: Pastor Jerome Fernando has been issued an overseas travel ban by the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court, following his recent controversial remarks about various religions, including Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism. The ban was granted after the pastor had reportedly left the country on May 14, but the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) successfully obtained the restriction.
The controversy surrounding Pastor Jerome Fernando began when a video clip of one of his sermons, allegedly containing derogatory statements about Lord Buddha, went viral on social media. The widespread circulation of the video prompted President Ranil Wickremesinghe to order an immediate investigation by the CID, aiming to preserve religious harmony in the country.
President Wickremesinghe expressed concern over the potential of irresponsible statements like those made by Pastor Fernando to incite religious conflicts and disrupt the overall harmony of the nation. In response, Mr Sagala Ratnayake, the President’s Advisor on National Security, directed the CID to initiate an investigation into the matter.
Various organizations have also taken action against Pastor Jerome Fernando. The New Buddhist Front (‘Nawa Bikshu Peramuna’) lodged a complaint with the CID in Colombo Fort, calling for the pastor’s immediate arrest and the commencement of legal proceedings. Similarly, the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) filed a complaint with the CID, demanding strict legal action against Pastor Jerome.
The issuance of the overseas travel ban marks a significant development in the ongoing investigation surrounding Pastor Jerome Fernando’s controversial statements. With the restriction, the pastor’s ability to leave the country has been curtailed. This case continues to attract attention both within the country and on social media platforms, as authorities strive to maintain religious harmony and ensure accountability for potentially divisive speech.