Tamil villagers lay siege to intruding monks, expose ethnic bias of SL Archaeology Department

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 04 September 2018, 23:14 GMT]
The villagers of the ancient Tamil village of Kumuzha-munai in Karai-thu'raip-pattu division of Mullaith-theevu district on Tuesday evening laid siege to a 16-member group of Sinhala Theravada Buddhist extremists from the South, who had come with a Buddha statue, which they wanted to erect at Kurunthoor-malai, a place with traces of ancient heritage in the country of Eezham Tamils. The group, led by two young monks, consisted mostly of Sinhala youth. The SL Forest Department guards also assisted them. The villagers alleged SL military intelligence personnel wearing civilian clothes were also in the group. The SL Police, providing escort to the group, had to withdraw from the intruders to the police station.

Kurunthoor-malai


Kurunthoor-malai
Two young monks were leading the group.

The monks were having a letter issued by the SL Archaeology Department in Sinhala, which stated they were authorised to engage in conservation work.

However, the people questioned why the monks were getting involved in the work, which should be carried out by the SL Department if it was genuine about the conservation of an archaeological site.

The people also questioned how could an entirely new Buddha statue brought from outside be part of ‘conservation’.

A similar move was also blocked by the villagers back in 1982, the villagers said.

The latest one comes after the intensified protests in the division against the large-scale occupation of the coastal stretch by the Sinhala fishers from South as well as a systematic move by the SL Mahaweli Authority to seize lands of Tamils to expand the Sinhalicisation of Karai-thu'raip-pattu division through Mahaweli L Scheme.

Kurunthoor-malai


More than one hundred Tamil people mobilised against the intruders and besieged the group.

The villagers also turned against the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) minister K. Sivanesan and NPC Councillor T. Ravikaran, who came to support them. The villagers blamed the Tamil politicians for not being able to put an end to heritage genocide. However, the NPC Councillors admitting lack of powers also took part in the besiegement against the intruding Sinhala group.

Initially, the SL Police was backing the Sinhala group.

However, the Tamil villagers of Kumuzha-munai only agreed to withdraw the besiegement after SL Police assured immediate withdrawal of the Buddha statue and to initiate investigations against the group.

Two men in the group said they belonged to SL Archaeology Department without any identity documents to prove their claim.

The group, attempting to erect the Buddha statue was also planning to station itself there renaming the hilltop from Tamil Kurunthoor-malai to Sinhala Surunthava-soka, the villagers said.

The people in the area have been worshipping Siva with a small temple at the locality of ancient traces of heritage monuments.

Kurunthoor-malai
Kurunthoor-malai
Kurunthoor-malai
Kurunthoor-malai


Chronology:

 

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