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Monks block Saiva temple extension, claim yet another sacred Buddhist site

Members of the JHU, Sri Lanka’s Sinhala Buddhist Nationalist party have been blocking plans to extend the ancient Shiva temple in Munneswaram, Chilaw.

Temple authorities had applied in May 2012 for permission to construct a ten-storey front tower (Rajagopuram) for the building, but are yet to be given the go-ahead by the Divisional Secretary.

According to TamilNet, an ancient scripture was found during preparations for the construction, which the Department of Archaeology have now claimed belongs to Buddhist culture.

Monks have also been spreading claims that the discovery of a Bo tree on the site proves the Buddhist heritage of the area, which in itself is a reason to block construction of Hindu structures.

While this attempt at rewriting the area’s history has disturbed the locals, it is by no means novel to Sri Lanka, being just one of many systematic processes to eradicate Tamil culture and history on the island.

Sources from the Temple are reported to have complained of the rigorous application procedure for constructing Hindu monuments in traditional Tamil homelands, whereas no such permission is needed to construct Buddhist Viharas anywhere on the island.

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