Sinhala Buddhist monks and Buddhist worshippers disrupted a Tamil Pongal celebration at the Athi Aiyanar temple in Kurunthurmalai earlier today.
The Tamils who had planned the Pongal celebration for today were disrupted once again although the Mullaitivu Magistrate court had ruled that the Tamil worship could go ahead as long as the Tamils adhered to the Department of Archeology’s orders of not causing any damage to the site.
Five buses carrying Sinhala people from the South arrived at the Athi Aiyanar temple. Posts on Facebook called on the Sinhala people to come to Kurunthurmalai today.
Posters were also put up in Sinhala villages in the Weli Oya area in Mullaitivu, calling on Sinhala Buddhists to come to Kurunthurmalai as Tamils engage in their worship at the temple.
Sinhala Buddhist monk Galgamuwa Santhabodhi, who claims to be a monk at the illegally constructed vihara at Kurunthurmalai, attempted to disrupt the Tamil Pongal worship even though the Tamils were following the instructions given by Mullaitivu Magistrate court.
Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) MP Selvarajah Kajendren later lodged a complaint Galgamuwa Santhabodi for disrupting the peaceful worship.
The Athi Aiyanar temple, a native place of worship of Tamils located in the Thannimurippu area, has been targeted by intense landgrab efforts by Sinhala Buddhist monks over recent years. Their efforts have been met with fierce resistance from locals which in 2018 led to a court order decreeing that no changes could be made to the site. The court also stated that the archaeology department had abused its power in allowing Buddhist monks to survey the area.