Vidura Wickramanayaka, Sri Lanka's state minister for 'national heritage', accompanied by army soldiers and archaeology department officers, led an event on Monday at Kurunthoormalai in which a new Buddha statue was placed and consecrated at the site of the Athi Aiyanar temple.

The temple site, on a hilltop in the Kumulamunai area of  Mullaitivu, has been the target of intense landgrab efforts by Sinhala Buddhist monks, met with fierce resistance from locals which in 2018 led to a court order decreeing that no changes could be made to the site. The court also stated that the archaeology department had abused its power in allowing Buddhist monks to survey the area.

While Tamils have been resisting several attempts at landgrabs and Sinhalisation across the North-East, and...