A Buddhist religious flag was hoisted n front of Jaffna bus station in the centre of the city by a group of unknown persons on Monday evening, despite protests from the local Tamil community.
Local shop owners in the town said the Buddhist flag had appeared overnight with a makeshift flagpole, with no signs to indicate why it was there or who had raised it. Tens of thousands of Sri Lankan soldiers are deployed across the heavily militarised North-East.
Though local activists from the TNPF removed it the same day, the flag had been reconstructed and hoisted once more by the evening. Many locals suspected that Sinhala Buddhists, perhaps linked to the Sri Lankan military, were responsible.
V. Parthiban, a member of the Jaffna Municipal Council, said the raising of a Buddhist flag in the Tamil homeland was symbolic of how “Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism is slowly trying to swallow our native lands”.
He called on Tamils across the region to speak out against such moves fearing that even more Tamil landmarks may be replaced with Sinhala Buddhist monuments.