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More protests in Thaiyiddy over illegally constructed Sinhala Buddhist shrine

Tamil residents and members of the Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) held another protest to demand the removal of a Sinhala Buddhist shrine, the Tissa Rahamaha Vihara, which was built illegally and on land occupied by Sri Lanka's military. 

Tamils in Thaiyiddy, Jaffna, have been protesting every Poya (full moon) day for nearly a year, to demand the removal of the illegal structure. 12 acres of land surrounding the shrine are owned by 14 farming families but are currently occupied. 

Protesters had camped outside of the Buddhist shrine last night ahead of today's Poya worship and vowed to continue their protests until the shrine is removed. 

The Sri Lankan police have erected barricades around the shrine since the protests began last year, to block the public from entering the area. 

A Sri Lankan oversight committee on ‘national security’ has recently issued a directive, mandating the transfer of private land on which the Tissa Rajamaha Vihara is situated to the shrine, while also suggesting alternative land allocation for Tamil residents whose properties are affected. The directive has called for the land transfer to the vihara and provision of alernative lands to take place within a month.

The Sri Lankan government is actively engaged in constructing a Sinhala Buddhist landscape throughout the Tamil homeland. Aided by the military, police, archaeology department and other various Sri Lankan bodies, the Sri Lankan government continues to  seize traditionally Tamil and Muslim land and religious sites.  

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