Hindu priests fear SLN, islets' temple activities at standstill

[TamilNet, Saturday, 12 May 2007, 14:45 GMT]
Regular prayers and religious functions in Hindu Temples in Veala'nai in Kayts, and in Jaffna Islets in general, have come to a standstill following the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN's) killing of the main priest in one temple and the arrests of the chief priest and custodian of another temple in Veala'nai in last week of April and first week of May, sources in Jaffna said.

Kayts Judge, Jeyaraman Trotsky, is making efforts to assist the temple custodians to create improved relationship with the Sri Lanka Navy officials, sources from islets said.

Hindu priests who attend to the temple poojas and serve as key social facilitators for religiously conservative residents of rural Tamil villages, are increasingly fearful of the harassment and ire directed against them by the SLN, and are refusing to attend to temple activities, civil sources in Jaffna islets said. Many priests have relocated to safer areas, according to the same sources.

Following concerns raised by Civil society activists at the Hindu Cultural Ministry in Colombo meetings were organized between the SLN officers and the Hindu custodians of the islet temples, SLN gave assurances that SLN will not target temple priests.

However, no prayer activities at the two Kayts temples took place after the early meetings.

Kayts Judge, Jeyaraman Trotsky, Friday met with Senior Commanders of the SLN, and had obtained authorization for the smooth functioning of the two temples.

Judge Trotsky told TamilNet that he expects the two temples to return to having normal schedule of prayers from Saturday.

Ratnasabapathy Aiyar Somaskantha Kurukkal, 60, chief priest of Mudippi'l'laiyaar Hindu Temple was shot dead by Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) soldiers on 30 April. Later on 3rd May, Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) soldiers arrested the chief priest and the Temple Trustee Board Chairman of Perunkulam Muththumaariamman Hindu temple at Veala'nai following alleged discovery of ammunition at the temple premises.



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