The Sri Lankan army has unveiled a gold-plated fence that it constructed around a Buddha statue at the ‘Sri Nagadeepa Viharaya’ in Nainativu in Jaffna this week, as the military continued to construct Buddhist monuments across the Tamil homeland.
Major General Ruwan Wanigasooriya, Commander of the Sri Lankan Security Forces in Jaffna was present at the unveiling, as soldiers dressed in all-white and gave offerings to Sinhala Buddhist monks.
The Buddhist vihara at Nainativu has had extensive military involvement with its construction, upkeep and expansion, with the army holding regular Buddhist ceremonies at the site.
It has for years been a controversial site, with the Sri Lankan government attempting to change the name of the Jaffna islet from ‘Nainativu’ in Tamil to ‘Nagadeepa’ in Sinhala.
In 2015 as the Northern Provincial Council attempted to change the name of the islet back to Tamil, TNA leader R Sampanthan said opposing the Sinhala name was "a stupid proposal”.
“There’s no reason to change the name in this country where we all live; I am opposed to this proposal,” he claimed. “We should be trying to unite people and not divide them. Nagadipa should remain just as the Nainativu kovil must remain.”