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Militarised Sinhalisation: Army assists Buddhist ceremony in Mullaitivu

Buddhists monks and the Sri Lankan military partnered up once more to hold religious ceremonies in Mullaitivu last month, despite concerns over the militarised Sinhalisation of the North-East.

Soldiers from the 593 Brigade under the 59 Division assisted Buddhist monks hold a ‘Katina Pooja’ at a vihara that has been constructed in the region.

Soldiers were photographed on an official military website marching down the street, dressed in all white and bearing Buddhist flags. Senior military figures were also present at the ceremony, which saw soldiers praying and giving offerings to Buddhist monks.

The ceremony comes even though numerous concerns have been raised regarding the Sinhalisation of the North-East, alongside the construction of Buddhist monuments in the Tamil region.

The Sri Lankan military has continued to be heavily involved with Sinhalisation, helping to construct Buddhist viharas and carrying out religious ceremonies.   The US State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2016 said the continued construction of such sites in non-Buddhist areas, left the perception of “Buddhist Sinhalese religious and cultural imperialism”.