The Sri Lankan navy held a series of Buddhist ceremonies in Nainativu this week, as part of elaborate celebrations where Buddhist monks invoked blessings on the military.
Nainativu, a highly militarised island of Jaffna with a large navy presence, has a Buddhist vihara which the navy helped to construct and continues to assist in maintaining.
This week events on the island were held to commemorate a Sinhala Buddhist monk who has died and to celebrate the 59th birthday of another.
According to an official military website,
“The Chief Incumbent evoked blessings on the Northern Naval Command and entire Navy as well for the contribution provided by the Navy at these meritorious religious rituals”.
Military officers also handed out food to local Tamil schoolchildren, as the Sri Lankan security forces continued to exert its presence in civilian spaces in the region.
The Sri Lankan security forces have come under years of criticism from Tamil civil society, politicians and international NGOs over its militarisation of the North-East, as well as its involvement in propagating Sinhala Buddhism, in the largely non-Buddhist region. Despite calls for a halt to these activities, the military continues to expand its involvement in these areas.