'Anthijeshty' ritual banned

[TamilNet, Monday, 13 March 2000, 13:47 GMT]
Hindus in Trincomalee town and its suburbs have been banned from performing "Anthijeshty" rituals in the sea of the east coast of the town.The Hindu faith requires the ritual to be done on the thirty first day after a person's death.

The President of the Trincomalee Ramakrishna Seva Sangam has requested the district's Government Agent to lift the ban immediately to enable Hindus to continue performing the ritual.

In a letter to the GA, Mr T. Thavasilingam, President of the Trincomalee Ramakrishna Seva Sangam, says Hindus comprise the majority in Trincomalee and are bound by their faith to observe Anthijeshty whereby the ashes of the dead are scattered into the sea with flowers. The only other alternative is to scatter the ashes into a natural spring.

"Earlier Hindus used to go to the historic Kanniya Hot Springs to perform the same. But because of the prevailing security situation, they do not go there now," Mr Thavasilingam said.

"In Trincomalee town area, settlers obstruct the access for sea along the northern coast. Hence the Hindus were performing the ritual ceremony in the eastern coast. Now the authorities have banned Hindus from performing this ritual in the eastern coast. The intention behind this ban is not known. But if it were concerned with pollution, I would say that any of the ritual activities would not pollute the area," he said.

"The government has declared Trincomalee a peace city. Hence, I appeal on behalf of peace loving Hindus to lift the ban on performing ritual ceremonies immediately," Mr Thavasilingam added.


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