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Sri Lanka Brief Update I Sinhala Buddhist Majoritarianism in North -East of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Brief Update I 22 August 2023.

The construction of New Buddhist temples and the obliteration of Hindu Kovils in the Northeast of Sri Lanka have been a manifestation of Sinhalese dominance and an attempt to alter the demographic and cultural landscape of the region. Even 40 years after Black July of 1983 Buddhist monks backed by the Military are building Buddhist temples in the North.

This update records such manifestations in North East of Sri Lanka during the month of Black July 2023 and until the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence based on Religion or Belief which falls on 23rd August.

  1. 09 July 2023: Tamils protest erecting new Buddhist temples in the North.

In Mannar, relatives of the involuntary disappearance of Tamils demanded the removal of military camps & an end to erecting Buddhist temples. “The aim of building Buddhist vihara’s in military camp sites is to hide the mass graves and settle the Sinhalese,” said an activist.

  1. 09 July 2023: Former  Minster for Public Security and present Presidential Adviser for Food Security   Sarath Weerasekara tells a judge that Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country.

The former minister says that courts should understand that Sri Lanka is a Sinhala Buddhist country. Speaking at the parliament Rear Admiral (retired) Sarath Weerasekara MP, former Cabinet Minister of Public Security. that “The action of the Mullaitivu court judge who evicted us from kurunthoormalai (in Jaffna) is unacceptable. He has no authority to investigate archaeology. The judge should understand that Sri Lanka is a Sinhala Buddhist country.

Lawyers of Mullaitivu Bar Association comments by ruling party MP Sarath Weerasekara, who in parliament condemned Tamil Maproceedings Kurunthurmalaistopping the politician intervening in court proceedings  Kurunthurmalai archaeology site.  11 July 2023: Issuing a statement the Bar Association of Sri Lanka deplores MP Satarth Weerasekara’s  ‘s statement made under parliament privileges as ‘an unfounded, brazen attack on the judiciary and the social fabric” of Sri Lanka.

Notwithstanding all these concerns about Weerasekara’s statement, neither he nor the government made any clarification or apology for the racist comments.

  1. 14 July 2023: Pongal festival stopped by a Monk-led Sinhalese group.

More than 100 Sinhalese led by the Kurunthoormalai Buddhist monk stopped and threatened the Tamil people, who went to Kurunthoormalai ayyanar temple for the Pongal festival as per the court order. Police did not take any action against those who disrupt the Pongal event of the Tamil people and police also threatened the Tamils. Complaints has been lodged by former NPC member Ravikaran and political activist Peter Ilanchezhiyan at the Mullaitivu Police Station regarding the incident.

  1. 14 July 2023: Pongal worship disturbed.

A person from Anuradhapura shared on his own Facebook account that he had disturbed the Pongal worship of Tamils on July 14th at kurunthoormalai. engaged in such an act in front of the police officers. He knocked the Pongal stove with his foot.

  1. 23 July 2023: A Buddha statue was installed violating a court order.

A group including Galgamuwa Shanthabodhi Thero, Maravanpulavu Sachithananthan violated the court order and installed a Buddha statue in Kurunthoormalai . A complaint has been lodged against this at the Mullaitivu Police Station by former members of the Northern Provincial Council Thurairasa Ravikaran and political activist Peter Ilanchezhiyan.

  1. 15 August: Buddhist Monks plan to build a temple on land belonging to the Tamils.

A group of Buddhist monks tried to build a Buddhist Temple by occupying the lands belonging to the Tamils in Naively Periyakulam village of Trincomalee district, more than 500 Tamil families have traditionally lived in this area for many decades. The construction was stopped by the governor after the member of parliament representing Trincomalee district R. Sambanthan and social activists brought it to the attention of the governor. Monks continue to protest the order.

  1. 15 August: Police request an injunction to stop Tamil worship.

The Mullaitivu Police filed a petition in the Mullaitivu Magistrate requesting an injunction order against the ‘Pongal’ worship planned to be held at Kurunthoormalai Athi Ayyanar Temple on 18 August 2023, averring that if the ‘Pongal’ were to be held, it would cause conflict between two religious groups that would be present there which might escalate into a religious conflict. The court, however, having rejected the police’s claim, ordered that the locals of the area have the right to conduct the Pongal and worship without causing any damage to the archaeological monuments present.

  1. 16 August: Posters in Sinhala areas call for mass mobilizations to stop the Pongal worship.

Posters had been pasted in Sinhala villages in Mullaitivu welioya area and shared on the ‘Kurundi vihara’ Facebook page called the Sinhala Buddhists to come towards Kurunthoormalai to prevent the Pongal worship of Tamils at Kurunthoormalai Ayyanar temple.

  1. 18 August: Sinhalese bussed in to protest Pongal Festival

 The Pongal event was held amid strict restrictions at the destroyed Athisivan aiyanar temple in Kurunthoormalai under restrictions imposed by Archaeology Department. Hundreds of Sinhalese people and Buddhist monks arrived from the South in about 5 buses to answer the call by Monks to protect Kurundi Viharaya.

  1. 18 August: Buddhist Monk Galgamuwa Santhabodhi tried to disrupt Tamil worship.

Kurunthoormalai ‘kurundi vihara’ Buddhist monk Galgamuwa santhabodhi entered the area where the Tamil people were peacefully engaged in Pongal worship as per the Archeology Department’s strict rules and tried to disrupt the Pongal worship of the Tamils. (video)

  1. 20 August: A complaint against Tamil magistrate

A complaint was lodged against Mullaitivu Magistrate T.Saravanaraja in the Judicial Service Commission of Sri Lanka. The complaint Jayantha Samaraweera, MP and the national organizer of Jathika Nidahas Peramuna led by Sinhala Nationalist MP Wimal Weerawansa has said that “on the 18th of August, Hindu religious worship was held at Kurunthoormalai . Mullaitivu Court Judge Saravanaraja acts unilaterally and irresponsibly. On the other hand, he does not heed the instructions of the Department of Archaeology.

  1. 22 August: Mullaitivu Tamil Magistrate mentally challenged, says presidential adviser & MP.

“Mullaitivu magistrate mentally challenged. He should be given proper treatment. The Ministry of Justice and the Judicial Services Commission should look into this and appoint someone else as a judge” MP Sarath Weerasekara told parliament while commenting on Mullaitivu Magistrate’s permission to hold the Pongal event in Kurunthoormalai.

  1. 22 August: Religious leaders and journalists detained by a Sinhala mob led by a monk.

09 religious leaders, some Tamil civil society activists, and Journalists who had gone to Mathavanai Mayilaththamadu, a border area of ​​Batticaloa, were illegally detained for three hours by a Sinhala Mobs led by a Buddhist monk. They blocked the vehicles and issued death threats. Threats have been made to delete all footage from journalists’ cameras. A protest was held against the illegal act on the same day.

  1. During the period covered by this Update there had been an increasing number of statements by Sinhala politicians against the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the constitution which devolves of power within provincial councils. Sinhala Nationalist media have been fuelling those sentiments. Meanwhile, almost all Tamil political parties based in the North and East have rejected the 13 Amendment as a solution to the Ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka.

The End.

 

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