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NewsHINDU TEMPLES OF VANNI AND THE LANDS OF THE TAMILS ARE IN DANGER

HINDU TEMPLES OF VANNI AND THE LANDS OF THE TAMILS ARE IN DANGER

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Navraj Parthiban /29 September 2010
Sinhalization efforts now take place targeting the Hindu temples of Vanni. Buddha statues which have started the invasion of targeting the lands of Vanni are more like the modern invading army of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Sinhalization efforts now take place targeting the Hindu temples of Vanni. Buddha statues which have started the invasion of targeting the lands of Vanni are more like the modern invading army of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The likes of Buddha statues are used to physically and mentally turn the landmark symbols of the Vanni into a Sinhala, Buddhist land. The idea behind this is to spread the hegemony attitude. The Hindu temples of Vanni are in a pathetic situation having to face such a brunt force, which they vehemently oppose. This has sparked an explosive situation.

One year after the conclusion of the war Buddha statues have sprouted under every bo‐tree. As such the lands are in danger of being invaded says GTN columnist Navraj Parthiban. He mentions about two temples in Vanni which face trouble, in this article.�

A BUDDHIST VIHARA COMING UP IN GRANDEUR WHILE HINDU TEMPLES ARE DEMOLISHED

There are so many temples in Jaffna, which can be called the land of temples. The temples of Jaffna confirm the longing the people of Jaffna have for the Hindu religion as well as their economical status. During the arrival of the British, the local language and the religion were considered as symbols of protest and also spread the anti‐sentiment that the Jaffna community was more Hindu oriented.

Compared to Jaffna, Vanni has fewer temples.

Uruthirapuram sivan kovil, Porikkadavai amman kovuil, Vattrapalai amman kovil, Oddusuttan Thaanthondriswarar kovil, Puliyampokkanai Nagathambiran Kovil, Kilinochi Kandaswamy Kovil, Iranamadu Kanagambigai amman Kovil are some of the important temples  in the Vanni.

Differences between the Bo‐tree and the Banyan tree are gathering strength, says a TNA Member of Parliament. Wherever a bo tree stands up, the forces place a Buddha Statue underneath. Soon after the forces captured the Vanni they showed great interest in destroying the cultural symbols of the Tamil people, likewise the forces now place Buddha statues and have started the dangerous trend of making the presence of the Tamils, a questionable factor.

BUDDHIST VIHARA AND THE CHECK POST NEARBY�

Why the Buddha, who symbolizes monk hood, peace and meditation has become averse to the Eelam Tamils. Why has he become as someone who keeps the face of an invader.

The reigning Sinhalese have made the Buddha a guide to their activities which spell destruction and terror for the Tamils. Whenever they think of invading with the Sinhalese hegemony they let the Buddha status tread on the lands of the Tamils.

Buddha statues have been found in places like Kandarodai, and this shows that Tamils have followed Buddhism and that Tamil Buddhism was practiced in eelam, in  a lesser extent, but the Sinhalese show these as Buddhist antiques and claim parts of the Tamil motherland as Sinhala areas. The reigning Sinhalese along with Sinhala intellectuals with hegemony attitude have jointly planned these acts and are now implementing them.

SOUTHERN YOUTH WHO STEAL VALUABLE STATUES OF HINDU DEITY AND THE FORCES ALLOW THEM TO DO SO�

As a part of the invading act Buddha statues are on the move targeting Hindu temples and the administration of these temples have been acquired by the state.

Recently I accompanied the TNA parliamentarian Sridhar an to the Iranaimadu Kanagambigai Amman temple. I have been going to this temple from the days I could remember. The temple entrance has been closed and fenced with barbed wire.
The temple never had its entrance at the back. There is an army camp in front of the temple. The temple premises in the back are fenced out with barbed wire in order to expand the army camp.

THREE THER (CHARIOT) CARTS USED TO RUN CONCURRENTLY IN THE FRONT YARD OF THE KANAGAAMBIKAI AMMAN TEMPLE.

It is mentioned that the first ever run of the ther cart had taken the place at this temple known as the Iranaimadu Kanagambigai amman temple and to be specific this temple has been distinguished with running three  ther carts concurrently.

There were widespread settlements in Killinochchi in the 1950s. This led to the formation of many villages. The blessings and recommendations of Yogar Swamigal a Lankan saint who had then lived in the area is said to have been obtained in construction of this temple. This temple started as a small hut under a neem tree. Prayers are chanted in this temple whenever the Iranaimadu tank overflows. The tank was once about to burst and after the prayers, the pilgrims had seen the wonder of water level going down. Iranaimadu tank is of great help to the people of Killinochchi for their agriculture, and the Iranaimadu temple too is of great significance to the people.

This temple has seen three kumba abishegams which comes every 12 or 14 years. The first ever Kumba abishegam was in the 60s. The second was in 1981 and the third in 1965. The annual ther festival takes place during the full moon during the month of April. Pongal or cooking of milk rice takes place with 1000 pots. The thousand pots symbolize the hopes of good faith vested upon the Iranaimadu tank and the economic affluence of the people of Vanni. Many special events take place along with the ther festival.

With the times, this temple grew into a bigger temple in parallel to the growth of Killinochchi, but with the war in Vanni spreading to the temple the growth of the temple suffered. The temple premises and the roof were damaged and the walls bear the brunt of the war. Poojas have been started from 29th of the month of Thai (January‐ February), but the main problem encountered by the temple was that it had lost the front yard which held the ther cart procession.

STATE OF THE EARLIER TEMPLES

I had seen three ther carts pulled up concurrently in the front yard, without any divisions taking place among the worshippers. This temple has been a temple for the working class and a temple of beliefs.

Selvarajah one of the trustees of the temple says that he has seen many people who come to the temple for the want of a child or solemnization of a marriage. Will the god grant all these people their wish?

People go to temples when they cannot find a path to continue, but the most unfortunate happening that has taken place in the case of eelam Tamils is that the  path of the god himself has been blocked. The power of the god and the beliefs of the people are on clash.

Why have they invaded into the temple premises to set up a army camp. Invasion and Militarization start right here. According to the religions belief worshippers should enter a temple through its front door. But in this case they have to come through the back door says Selvarajah. This temple apart from being involved with people’s beliefs is more over a social institute, which caters to the students giving them a peace education and a will to help others.

A HINDU TEMPLE COMES UP AMONG THE BUDDHA VIHARAS

The danger to the temples of Vanni is that the front yard where the ther procession takes place has been blocked or fenced out.. A Buddhist statue has been placed in the front corner of the Iranaimadu tank. The forces say that the statue has been kept there for the Sinhala pilgrims who come there to worship.
 
Buddhist statues have now invaded every tank, street and junction and almost every land in North and East. After capturing an area, forces place a Buddha statue at every place they stay.

There is a Buddha statue close to the Hindu temple at the Allarai detention camp. A big vihara has been constructed in Killinochchi. A Buddha statue was placed in Trincomalee during the ceasefire and several such Buddha statues have mushroomed in the East.

This temple has been situated as a place of worship while taking a break in the journey. A stone placed under a palu tree was turned into a place of worship, is what people say.

With the A9 highway becoming an important land route to the north, people who worship at this place have increased rapidly.

TRAVELLERS FROM THE SOUTH WHO COME WITH THE BLESSINGS OF THE MILITIARY OFFICERS

The numbers of pilgrims who come to this temple are found to be decreasing due to the eelam war. People from Murikandy area rely on selling peanuts, running eating houses, and selling things for poojas. But these small time traders who had been depending on these businesses are refused business premises and the shops are now run by co‐operative societies. The small time traders are sad and feel that there is the danger of the business premises be never given back to them, is on the air ,

While there are talks that this temple has been acquired by the government, it is not known when it will be given back to the temple trustee board. The government says that it will be given back when normalcy prevails in the country. But the people feel that normalcy has returned and it is time that the temple is returned to them. They say that the government is more intended on a long time control of the administration of the Murikandy temple,

The owner of this temple has already filed a case in regard to the temple and its premises. But the government says that a hall could be named after the founder of the temple and no individual can claim rightful ownership of the temple. A regular worshipper of the temple says that the government’s intention of acquiring this temple is more of a surprise and it is better if the temple is handed back to the people
 
MURIKANDY

Murikandy peanuts are very popular among the travelers. This temple called ‘Murukandyaan’ with a religious sentiment later on turned out to be a temple for fulfilling vows.

This temple was badly damaged during the war. The rest rooms were also affected. These rest rooms were built to provide shelter for the passersby. Trees gave shade to these rest rooms. But now the rest rooms are not in a position to provide any shelter for those passing by.

The danger of lands in Murukandy area being invaded or seized by state authorities has created fear amongst the people.

When will the people of Murukandy who are now in the detention camps are re settled. Will they ever be re settled is the question now? Re setting them is now in doubt.

Talks of Sinhala people being brought in and settled in Murikandy is now spreading fast in the area. But the government denies such stories and says that a housing scheme for military personnel is to be constructed in Murikandy.

It is rumored that 4611 acres of land is to be encroached or seized. Statements made by   �
Imelda Sugumar, the then government agent of Mullaithivu and Muralidharan, the deputy Minister for resettlement, confirm such a fact, people say.

THE SOUTHRN POPULATION WHO GO BACK HAPPY AFTER SEEING A NAME BOARD WRITTEN IN SINHALA

What is important is that whether the people will accept shifting their dwelling places, after being given compensation. Actually people are against it and show a strong dissent. They say that they will fight out the plan to its end. They say the lands are important to them and that they have been living in these lands for generations.

The people of Murikandy say that they are waiting anxiously in the camps and dream for the day of returning home.

Some government officials have strongly stressed their resistance to this plan. They say that they will not support the plan to deceive the people and seize their lands. Lands cannot be acquired without the full consent of the people, the officials say.

These sorts of activities  are the ones needed to prevent the plan of seizing the lands of the Tamil people, and save the people from losing.

However the government has not stopped the activities of grabbing these lands. Materials for constructing thousands of summer hunts are seen in Murukandy Street.

Meanwhile roads leading to jungle areas are seen every ½ Km distance  in Murukandy and Iranaimadu.People fear these activities and are baffled as well. Some say Chinese huts are constructed there, and this will finally lead to Sinhala settlements.

A NAME BOARD IN COMPLETE SINHALA �

The government is trying to sinhalize Murikandy which is commercially an important business centre. The Murikandy temple administration has been acquired by the government and business rights are also controlled by the state.

A large barrack is under construction in this area where security has been beefed up. People are of the opinion that this barrack will spoil the purity of the temple premises. The barrack is built too close to the temples, not complying with the traditional temple norms.

As Mankulam is to be made into an important town in the North, these type of activities in this area to bring Sinhala power into fore, has shocked the people.

A HINDU TEMPLE IN A STATE OF RUIN

The government has militarized and seized the administration of the two temples in order to threat the presence of Tamils in the area.
The hunger of grabbing the lands of the people of the Tamil homeland is on the verge of acquiring the whole homeland. The trend has just started and may be intensified in no time. Everyone should be on alert and those responsible should act fast , and urgent attention is needed in this regard
 NAVRAJ PARTHIBAN for GTN
  GTN

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