In the town of Pulmoaddai, located in the Trincomalee District, more than 25 soldiers and monks are tirelessly working day and night to construct a new Buddhist vihara. Their objective is to complete the project swiftly, despite accusations of illegal deforestation that preceded it.
Pulmoaddai, primarily inhabited by Tamil-speaking Muslims, lies within the Kuchchaveli Divisional Secretariat. Situated on the border of the Mullaitivu District, the town holds significant strategic importance as it connects the Northern and Eastern regions of the traditional Tamil homeland.
Since the conclusion of the armed conflict in 2009, the Muslim population of Pulmoaddai has raised concerns regarding Sinhala colonisation in the surrounding areas. These grievances have been particularly directed towards the recent establishment of Buddhist temples and Sinhala settlements in the region. The alleged mastermind behind these developments is Thilakawansa Nayaka, a Buddhist monk originally from Hambantota but currently based in Arisimalai, just south of Pulmoaddai town. According to both Muslim and Tamil residents, the monk has been involved in appropriating land in Pulmoaddai and Thennaimaravaadi to facilitate the construction of Buddhist structures.
When Tamil Guardian reporters attempted to investigate the new vihara, they were intercepted and subjected to questioning by personnel from the Sri Lankan army.
The scheduled opening of the vihara is reportedly planned to take place by the end of this month.
See more on Sinhalisation of Pulmoaddai from Pearl.