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UK federation of temples decries Sri Lankan 'religious war against Tamil Hindus'

The Federation of Saiva (Hindu) Temples UK released a statement speaking against the Sri Lankan government’s seizure of Hindu Temples to build Buddhist Viharas.

The statement was released on 27 January and encouraged Tamils and Hindus all over the world to unite and fight against Sri Lanka's “religious war against Tamil Hindus.”

This statement follows repeated concerns raised by the UK Minister for Asia at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development, Nigel Adams, against Sri Lanka's curtailment of religious freedoms including the draconian policy of forced cremations. This has been internationally condemned as a violation of Muslim religious rites. 

The stated that by using the Department of Archaeology to siege historical Hindu temples and build Viharas in their places the Sri Lankan government has essentially declared war against Tamil Hindus.

The statement referred to an incident at Kurundurmalai Adi Iyanar Temple in Mullaitivu last month where a Trident was pulled out and replaced with a Buddha statue, followed by a ceremony held by monks and State Minister Vitdura Wickramanayaka.

The federation’s release stated: “This act has caused acute pain and consternation among the Hindu Tamils.

“Tamil leaders have strongly condemned this act as a blatant attempt to Buddhistise the traditional habitat of the Tamils.”

The federation linked the “Buddhistisation” to the Sinhalisation of the North-East and the government’s attempt to colonize the Tamils’ “traditional habitat.”

They stated that acts such as the Mahaweli Authority Act No.23, the Antiquities Act No 24 and the Archaeological Sites of National Importance Act No. 16 have been used by past and current governments to “Sinhalise and Buddhistise the North-East.”

The excavations of another temple in Kumulamunai were described by the federation as being done “under the guise that they occupy Buddhist sites.”

The statement, signed by Mr M Gopalakrishnan of the Federation of Saiva Temples UK, further warned that the appointment of the Archaeological Heritage Management Task Force, put in place to dislodge and shut-down Hindu temples, has energized Sinhala nationalists.

“They are on a spree to hurriedly fence archaeological sites and livelihood zones,” the statement read.

Member of the Archaeological Heritage Management Task Force Ven. Ellawala Medhananda has said the team has identified 2,000 sites as being of Buddhist heritage.

The federation called this an “ominous threat not only to Hindu places of worship but also to lands belonging to Hindu Tamils.”

The federation of temples has urged for Hindus worldwide to unite and stop the large-scale Buddhistisation and colonisation in the “virtual holy way” declared by the Sri Lankan state.

Read the full statement here.


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