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Arrests at protest against army-built Vihara

Buddha statue on private Tamil land appropriated by the military in Kokkilaay

Sri Lankan police arrested the owners of land which was grabbed by the army to build a Buddhist vihara after they held a protest at the location in Kokkilaay, Mullaitivu.

The owners, Thirugnanasambanthar Mannivannathas, Katharkamu Sivayogeswaran and Loganathan Jude Nimalan, held a symbolic fast outside the vihara, which is being constructed by the military, earlier today.

Police arrested the men and pressured them to abandon their protest, before releasing them a few hours later.

The Mullaitivu district, along with most of the northern districts is virtually entirely Tamil. The government was recently accused by a US think-tank of conducting a "silent war" through Sinhalisation, including by the building of Sinhala Buddhist temples in Tamil areas.

Silent war against Tamils through Sri Lanka's military occupation finds US think-tank (28 May 2015)

Military at the site in Kokkilaay last week (@uthayarasashali)

Sign in Sinhala and English only at the building site
Buddhist flags draped over the buildings being constructed
Some buildings on the land have already been built, while others are still under construction
Sacred Buddhist trees are planted in the complex, while existing trees are demarcated