Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa laid the foundation for a Buddhist Stupa dedicated to Sri Lankan Army soldiers in Anuradhapura earlier this week, the first of such religious monuments to be built across the country.
The Stupa in Anuradhapura will be built from 30 million bricks and 40,000 cement bags, with similar Stupas “giving due recognition to the memory of those War Heroes who defended the country from threat of separation”, being built in each of the provinces of the country.
Since May 2009, over 28 statues of the Buddha have also been constructed along the A9 highway, the main road leading into Jaffna.
Commenting on these statues and the forceful construction of Buddhist monuments in the North-East of the island, the Sunday Leader said,
“The comedy of this charade (what else can one call it?) is that these statues are placed in areas where little or no Buddhists reside."
"This has caused a stir amongst the local Tamil communities who whisper (yes they can still only whisper or speak of it in hushed tones too afraid to make public their protests) that this is just one more example of Sinhala chauvinism stamping on the cultural and religious sensitivities of the Tamil community.”
“Alongside statues there has also been a Dagoba built in the Mankulam town. What is striking is that the majority of these statues have been erected towards the North end of the roads beyond Vavuniya, an area that is strictly Tamil, having a 30 year history of conflict with Sinhala parties (i.e. the Sri Lankan Army). A Buddhist statue was erected in Kanakarayankulam, near a tank, causing the Tamil community of the area to voice resentment.”
See the full piece, entitled “Misguided Buddhist Zealots” here.
See our earlier posts:
Only 49,000 to go (08 Jan 2012)