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Court orders removal of illegal Buddhist shrine on Tamil temple land

The Mullaitivu court has ordered the removal of all new constructions, including an illegally built Buddhist shrine, on Kurunthurmalai, a hill-top site of an ancient Tamil temple in the district’s Thannimurippu area.

Despite an ongoing court injunction against altering the hill, Sinhala Buddhist monks with the support of the Sri Lankan military and archaeology department carried out the construction of a Buddhist shrine on the temple’s land. During the construction, Tamils were also barred from accessing the Athi Aiyanar temple for worship.

Last month local Tamils and politicians thwarted an attempt by Sinhala Buddhist monks and the Sri Lankan army to install a Buddha statue at the shrine.

As the case was once again brought before the court on Thursday, Mullaitivu Magistrate judge R. Saravanaraja ordered that all new constructions, including the Buddhist shrine and any new idols be removed from the hill. He instructed Mullaitivu police to provide adequate security to ensure maintenance of peace in the area, and to submit a report to him once the offending constructions had been removed.

Tamil lawyer V S Dhananjeyan who appeared on behalf of the temple administration told media that Judge Saravanaraja had also stated that worshippers of the Athi Aiyanar temple should not be obstructed from the temple and could carry out worship as normal.

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