With an opening ceremony replete with Sinhala Buddhist monks, military officials and Sinhalese musicians and dancers, the Sri Lankan army facilitated the opening of a Buddhist school in Batticaloa, in another move abetting the Sinhalisation of the Eastern province.
The construction of the school, assigned as a ‘privena’ - a monastic college for monks’ education, in Kalkudah is an attempt to revive the Wellawadiya Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya a school which had been closed for the last ten years due to insufficient student numbers.
This time “the main aim of functioning this Pirivena is to facilitate the possibility of education for the students of all religions in the area,” the Sri Lankan army said in its press release on the opening.
Kalkudah, a Tamil and Muslim dominated town is known for its popularity with tourists, famous especially for its beaches such as Pasikuda. The intense Sinhala colonisation of tourist hotspots and potential hotspots in the North-East often results in Tamil communities being excluded from the economic benefits of increased tourism.
Attending the opening ceremony alongside other military officials and the governor of the Eastern province was Priyanka Fernando, the former defence attaché at the Sri Lankan High Commission in London who was recalled to the island after motioning death threats at Tamil protestors, for which he was convicted of a public order offence in a British court.