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Pongal celebrated in Mullaitivu under military surveillance

At Neeraviyadi Pillaiyar temple in Semmalai, Mullaitivu, Thai Pongal festivities took place amidst surveillance of several police and military investigators who were stationed inside the temple throughout the event.

In 2018, a Sinhala Buddhist monk constructed a large Buddha statue encroaching on Neeraviyadi Pillaiyar Kovil in Semmalai and a Tamil language sign indicating the Hindu temple was destroyed and replaced with a Sinhala sign. The following year, Mullaitivu Magistrate’s Court ruled in favour of the Neeraviyadi Pillaiyar, confirming its longstanding existence in Semmalai. Ignoring the court ruling, the Sri Lankan army set up a sham archaeological museum opposite the temple, claiming the artifacts were from the area and belonged to the disputed Buddhist vihara next to the temple, highlighting that Tamils are not even protected legally from this encroachment.

The Pongal event was attended by many Semmalai residents, including former Northern Provincial Council member Durairasa Ravikaran.

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