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Arrest warrant issued against Vedukkunari temple administration

A Vavuniya court has issued an arrest warrant against the administrators of the ancient Hindu Vedukkunari hill temple, as Sri Lanka’s archaeological department continues to pursue a case against the temple.

Sri Lanka’s Archaeological Department and the Sri Lankan Police had imposed various restrictions on public worship at the temple and filed a case in the Vavuniya Magistrate's Court under archaeological legislation last October. Chairman Sasikumar, Secretary Tamilselvan and Priest Madhimukarasa were present on behalf of the temple.

The police had requested the court that the temple be remanded in custody on the basis that it is an archaeological matter until the end of the proceedings. However, the temple administration was released on Rs. 50,000 bail and the case was adjourned until 6 November 2020. Although the temple administration attended court on the set date, the case was further postponed to January 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a request put forward by the advocate representing the Archaeological Department and the police to the court to amend the hearing date, the court fixed the hearing to 11 December 2020. However, the temple administration said that the police had not informed them about the change in the date of the case and therefore did not appear before the court on that day.

Attorney Sukas commented that the issue requires a political, rather than a legal solution. 

In 2018, Tamils in Vavuniya protested against the take over of Tamil temples by the Archaeology Department. However, since the re-election of there has a renewed effort in the Sinhalisation of land in the North-East with the President establishing the all-Sinhala Presidential Task Force for the “preserve the historical heritage of Sri Lanka” in the island’s Eastern province.

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