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Sri Lankan army sets up Vesak celebrations in Jaffna despite lack of permission

The Sri Lankan military has put up decorations and lanterns around the Ariyakulam tank in Jaffna, an important Tamil heritage site, as part of efforts to celebrate the Buddhist festival of Vesak – despite not having the approval of the local municipality. 

The Municipal commissioner told reporters that the Sri Lankan army had undertaken the Vesak decoration without prior approval from the city council. The Jaffna Municipal Council also stated that it had decided to prohibit decorations from the vicinity of the Ariyakulam tank.

The move is seen by many as an extension of Buddhisation by the state and military to claim historical sites belonging to Tamils as part of the Buddhist culture. 

It comes as the Sri Lankan state continues efforts across the North-East to colonise and build Buddhist structures in traditionally Tamil areas.

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