Erection of Buddha statues in areas where no Buddhists live, has become despicable: MP

[TamilNet, Thursday, 05 January 2017, 23:11 GMT]
The widespread erection of Buddha statues in the Northern and Eastern provinces, especially in places where no Buddhists live and Bo trees being regarded as the exclusive property of Sinhala Buddhists, have now become analogous to ‘despicable’ symbols in the minds of Tamil-speaking people as these have been used as tools of occupation disrespecting the prospects for harmony between the different religions, say senior Tamil-speaking politicians in the North and East. Tamil-speaking people are not opposed to peaceful co-existence of religions, but when these symbols reflect ethno religious aggression, these become despicable in their minds, says K. Thurairatnasingham, a senior Tamil National Alliance (TNA) national list parliamentarian from Trincomalee. In the meantime, several Hindu temples in the East have witnessed theft and desecration in recent days.



K. Thurairatnasingam
K. Thurairatnasingam, TNA parliamentarian for Trincomalee district
The government and police have not done enough to act against the culprits, Mr Thurairatnasingham said. As a result, mistrust is growing among the public, he added.

Several places, particularly hilltops, where Tamils and Muslims were having their traditional temples and mosques are being systematically targeted, especially after the war.

At Arisimalaik-kaadu and in Kuchchave'li, the aggression has targeted Tamil-speaking Muslims, Mr Thurairatnasingham, who is a close confidante of Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan, told TamilNet.

After erecting small Buddha statues at two hilltops in Kuchchave'li at an area where majority of residents are Muslims, the occupying Sinhala monks, backed by the SL system, have been pushing for the construction of a Pansala (Buddhist temple), the senior Tamil parliamentarian said.

Lands have been seized for the construction of a Buddhist temple at Chempi-malai in the same division. This is a locality where Tamils have been traditionally worshipping Lord Siva, he said.

At Thennai-maravadi, a hilltop where Tamils were having a Kanthasamy temple for centuries, is now being lost to the construction of a Buddhist temple.

A Buddhist monk has encroached into 43 perches of lands along the beach in Trincomalee. Backed by SL military, he is scheming a Buddhist temple there just 100 meters away from the Gokanna vihara, which is situated inside the Saiva temple of Koneasvaram, he said. There is also a Sangamitta vihara nearby.

At Kanniya, Tamils are unable to perform rituals to the deceased and ancestors as in the past. A Buddhist shrine is built there.

At Chaampal-theevu, situated 7 km north of Trincaomalee, a Buddha statue erected at the place of a traditional Pillayar shrine, was dismantled by the villagers last year. The response from Buddhist monks and the occupying military was further aggression.

At Nilaa-veli, two Saiva temples were desecrated this week along with theft of statues. The SL Police has been investigating the crime, but is yet to apprehend anyone. It is important that police acts against the culprits. Otherwise, it will only contribute to aggravate the situation, the MP further said.

Several theft-crimes have been carried out against resettled Tamils in Moothoor East, the MP said.

One of the main demands of the resettling people everywhere is their insistence of reconstructing their traditional temples as these are central to their psyche. Such reconstruction is also not getting enough attention due to the difficulties in allocating funds in the budgets, the MP further said.


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