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Sri Lankan police prevent Tamils from attending monthly festival at Trinco temple

Sri Lankan police prohibited Tamils from attending a monthly festival at a Hindu temple in Trincomalee. Police claimed that worship at the Kandasamimalai Murugan temple in Thennimaravadi was banned as the temple is located in an area that is clained to be a Buddhist archaeological site.

The Pongal festival, which is held monthly, is a significant event for the villagers of Thennamaravadi. It takes place on the full moon day and was organized on Friday as usual. However, the event was disrupted when Sri Lankan police and special task force (STF) officers accompanied by the Sri Lankan army, entered the temple premises while preparations were being carried out by the villagers. They detained villagers and prevented others from entering the area.

Pulmoddai police have filed an application in the Trincomalee Magistrate's court to prevent activities at the site that may lead to protests or conflict. The police have stated that the area where the temple is located is an archaeological site of Sangamalai Buddhist vihara, and engaging in Hindu worship or any activities that may lead to protests is prohibited. They claim that the place belongs to another religion, and people of other religions cannot engage in worship there. However locals have asserted that the Murugan kovil has served the area for generations.

The police have issued notices under Section 106 (01) (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code. While only four people were named, police claimed that all local organisations and the Tamil National People's Front were covered by the ban.

Thennaimaravadi is a Tamil village in the Trincomalee district. In 1984, the Tamil people living in this village were subjected to a violent attack by Sinhalese, and the Sri Lankan army set fire to their homes to force them out of the village. After the resettlement of Tamil people in 2010, several Sinhalese groups, including Buddhist monks, and the army in Pulmoddai, have claimed that worshipping by Tamil people in the area is prohibited.



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