The Sri Lankan army is set to be deployed in place of up to two-thirds of the police force at Nallur to supervise the annual festival of Nallur Kandaswamy Temple, according to reports from Jaffna.
The annual festival of the Kandasamy Temple began on Tuesday, 25th July with the ceremonial hoisting of the flag- Kodiyetram- and ends on August 20.
An important cultural and religious event in the Tamil calendar, it attracts surveillance by the police every year who are deployed in large numbers in the name of protecting the premises of the temple and its devotees. With the Easter Sunday Bombings last year, troops from the army also began to be stationed outside the temple.
The Sri Lankan police claimed that given in view of the upcoming elections and the need for extra police deployment at polls across the island, the military would be called up in its place. It announced, that up to two-thirds of the police forces stationed in Nallur will be replaced with military troops shortly, with the move reportedly only set to last for a week.
Earlier this week police announced devotees will be required to present proof of identity to enter the Nallur Kandasamy temple, as the temple’s annual festival – thiruvizha – begins.
The announcements come as part of a series of moves over recent months which has seen increased militarisation of the Tamil homeland in the North-East.