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Sri Lankan police threaten traders against carrying out work for Tamil temple

Sri Lankan police have threatened traders in a Vavuniya village against carrying out work for an ancient Tamil temple, after enforcing a ban by the archaeology department on work being done to the temple.

Administration of the ancient Athi Aiyyanar temple on Vedukkunari malai (mountain) in Olumadu-Nedunkeni have said the ladder leading to the temple, the only safe way to access the rocky hollow where the shrine is located, has disintegrated and needs repair or replacement.

However Vavuniya police have so far blocked the repair, enforcing the archaeology department's ban on development of the area. The ban came about after locals mounted legal action against the archaeology department for appropriating the land and against plans to build a Buddhist shrine there.

The action resulted in a ruling that locals could continue to use and access the temple, although the land still remained under archaeology department control. As it was ruled that no new development could be done in the area, ruling out the construction of a new Buddhist shrine, the department implemented a blanket ban on works that would affect the Tamil temple as well.

Since the temple has been attempting to repair its ladder, which the administration says is desperately needed to continue safe access to the shrine, Vavuniya police have approached local blacksmiths and other traders, threatening them against carrying out any work for the temple.