Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

Sinhala Buddhist monks call on Sri Lankan police to halt Shivarathri at Vedukkunaari Temple

Sinhala Buddhist monks are planning to disrupt Maha Shivarathri festivities at Vedukkunaari Adi Shiva temple, after having appealed to Sri Lankan police to halt the festival this week.

A letter sent from the Buddhist Information Centre in Kelaniya to Sri Lanka’s recently appointed controversial police chief Deshabandu Tennakoon calls on authorities to halt the Hindu ceremony, which is set to take place this week.

“Arrangements are being made to hold the Maha Shivarathri festivities at Vedukkunaari Adi Shiva temple,” said Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) member T Thavapalan earlier this week. “We have been put in a situation where we are forced to fight in our homeland for our right (to worship), regardless of whether it is Kurundurmalai or Vedukkunaari.”

He went on to state that a prominent Sinhala Buddhist monk has also called upon people to “rally for a common cause” on his social media platforms ahead of the Maha Shivarathri, with plans to occupy the area and disrupt festivities. 

He said that “leaders with a Sinhala Buddhist mindset” will not prioritize the plight of Tamils and it is ordinary citizens who are forced to put up against oppressive decisions.

A few weeks earlier, a group of Sinhalese monks who were escorted to the Vedukkunaari Adi Shiva temple in Vavuniya by the Sri Lankan army reiterated claims that the site was Buddhist and sent a warning to the Tamil diaspora over the future of the site.

The monks were escorted by the army on a plough machine in what it said was a surprise visit that the temple administrators were not formally alerted of. Whilst there, the monks reiterated their claims that it was a Sinhala Buddhist site  and sent a warning to the Tamil diaspora over the future of the site.

The visit comes at a time when there exists a court case before the Vavuniya Magistrate Court which issued an order to all government authorities including the police that worshippers in the Vedukkunaari area should not be obstructed in any manner.

Meanwhile, the management of the temple has sought permission from the courts to use generators to supply electricity during the Shivarathri pooja at the Vedukkunaari Adi Shiva Temple. The management informed the courts that they had already started making arrangements and would need to use a generator to light up the area during dusk.

With no response from Sri Lanka’s police as of yet, it remains unclear whether the festival will be given Sri Lankan permission to go ahead. 


We need your support

Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.

Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view

We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.

For more ways to donate visit https://donate.tamilguardian.com.