Friday, 23 February 2018
Buddhist temple employee given bail over Hindu temple fire – VIDEO

Buddhist temple employee given bail over Hindu temple fire – VIDEO

A middle-aged employee attached to newly erected Paashana Pabbatha Vihara, was arrested by the Serunuwara police on Tuesday on suspicion of setting fire to a Hindu kovil facility at Verugal in the eastern Trincomalee district.

Saman Nanayakkara from the central Kandy district was later released on bail to the Paashana Pabbatha Vihara chief priest Dr Ratnapura Devananda Thera, who has started building the temple since June 2009 at the hill.

The main opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA) accused the Buddhists erecting a new temple at the site of a destroyed historical Hindu temple, of being behind fire to the kovil storage facility.

Visiting the scene, TNA Batticaloa district parliamentarian Seenithamby Yogeswaran said that the 300-year old historic Malai Neeli Ammam temple at the hill was destroyed during the war.

According to him, the new Buddhist temple was erected in close proximity to the Hindu temple that was destroyed and the traditional Hindu people living in and around the area were prevented from visiting and worshipping their old temple site.

“The Buddhist monk did not allow people to resurrect the Malai Neeli Amman temple in its original place. He treated the Hindu people of this area in a discriminatory manner,” he said, adding that this forced the Malai Neeli Amman temple followers to build a small new temple by the road.

It is the storage facility of this temple that was set on fire on Monday around 10.30 am.

“If there are Buddhists and they need a temple. We firmly stand for their right to worship and respect their right to worship. But this is a place where the Buddhists have never lived. They established a Buddhist temple there and are grossly ignoring our traditional Hindu temple,” he said.

“Now they set on fire the storage facility of this temple,” the TNA MP said.

He said that TNA leader R. Sampanthan has taken this issue seriously and decided to take up the issue with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

“I have requested the people of this area keep calm. But we will take legal actions against those who prevent us from exercising our religious rights in our traditional habitats,” he said.

“This Malai Neeli Ammam should be and will be rebuilt in its original place. We are firm on this and will fight for this in and out of parliament. We will take this issue to UN and UNESCO,” he said.

Dr Ratnapura Devananda Thera in an interview with the BBC Sinhala Service in August 2014 had conceded that he built the temple with allied facilities where there were no Buddhist living.

He also complaint that Buddhist people were not visiting his temple and make use of the other facilities he has built such as pilgrim rest, monk rest and several others in the vicinity.

Tamil People’s Council (TPC) led by Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister C.V Wigneswaran staged a mass campaign in Jaffna town demanding an immediate end to the ongoing Sinhalisation, Buddhistisation and militarisation of the north and the east. The campaign has prompted angry reaction from the Sinhala extremist leaders who branded the retired Supreme Court judge as a Tamil extremist.



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