2ND LEAD (Update)

Unprecedented uprising marked at Sinhala-Buddhicised Naayaa'ru in Vanni

[TamilNet, Saturday, 06 July 2019, 20:16 GMT]
Eezham Tamil grassroots activists from the Northern and Eastern provinces transformed the mobilisation for the feast of their deity, Neeraaviyadi Pi'l'laiyaar in Naayaa'ru in the Mullaiththeevu district, into a successful uprising, establishing it as a wave of unceasing Pongku Thamizh. They were braving the harassments of the occupying Sinhala police, military and the extremist Sinhala-Buddhist section, Sinhala Ravaya, that had come to the locality with a confrontational attitude on Saturday. The grassroots activists-cum-devotees came from all directions from six of the eight districts in the North-East. The scheduled 108 Pongkal pots were increased to 150 as more than four hundred people from all walks of life took part in the emotional marking. Hindus, Christians and non-believers came together in the sense of Tamilness. The mobilisation has taken place through the social media.

Naayaa'ru Pongkal

Grassroots organisations organised buses as people volunteered to cover the expenses from all the corners, including the Tamil diaspora. Activist organisations also started to sponsor expenses associated with each Pongkal pot.

Saivaist Nanthi flags were hoisted at the venue. Catholics among the Tamils also took part in the event. The traditional percussion instrument of Tamils, Pa'rai, was played at the event.

Naayaa'ru Pongkal

Several Tamil political leaders and activists came to the feast-cum-resistance from the six districts of Mannaar, Jaffna, Ki'linochchi, Vavuniyaa, Mullaiththeevu and Trincomalee.

The participants gathered for the ritual of ‘pa'ndam-eduththal’ (paṇṭam eṭuttal) at Koaddaik-kea'ni Pi'l'laiyaar temple in Kokkuth-thoduvaay around 3:00 a.m. and proceeded to Neeraaviyadi, where they wanted to cook the Pongkal in the pots after worship at 6:30 a.m.

In the meantime, SL military intelligence operatives and the police had been deployed in large numbers at the disputed temple since Friday evening.

The Eezham Tamils also started to arrive in large numbers around 8:00 a.m.

The Sinhala Ravaya group had come to Mullaiththeevu and was accompanied by a lawyer from the South, Nuwan Indunil Ballantudawa. The Sinhala protesters were often shouting at the participants.

The Sinhala Ravaya and the lawyer, who is based in Australia and represents extremist views, said he was representing the ‘Gurukanda Rajamaha vihara’ and refused to move his car. Ballantudawa was objecting to cook Pongkal inside the premises and argued that such cooking would be harming the Bo tree and the ‘archaeological site’.

The SL Police told the participants to do the cooking along the road.

Initially, the occupying SL military, which is stationed in a fortified camp opposite the temple was opposing the move for cooking in the pots along the road. Later, the Sinhala soldiers observed silence as hundreds of Tamils thronged the venue.

The Sinhala group entered the Buddhist temple staging a worship around 12:30 p.m.

Despite the hostility it was showing, the SL Police agreed to move its vehicles away from the premises to give room for serving the cooked pongkal.

The lawyer representing the Buddhist temple had refused to relocate his red car and the SL police was giving protection to the car. However, one of the Tamil participants had managed to write on the car, the word “Thamizhan” (Tamil).

Tamil politicians took part in the event as equals without any prominence being accorded to them by the participants or the organisers.

ITAK Leader and Parliamentarian Mavai Senathirajah, his fellow MPs Dr S. Sivamohan, Shanthi Sriskandarasa as well as Former Chief Minister, Justice C.V. Wigneswaran and Tamil National Peoples’ Front (TNPF) Leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam were present at the event. EPRLF Leader Suresh Premachandran and the MP representing the former Tamil militant organisation, Sivasakthi Anandan, also joined the protest, which was organised by the grassroots organisations in Mullaiththeevu.

The event concluded at 3:30 p.m.

The SL Archaeology Department has claimed the territory of the temple as coming under its control and was working with the monks to erect a new Buddha statue and to Sinhalicise the name of the temple of Tamils.

However, a court ruling instructed the SL Police to remove the Sinhala name board, that had been put up without following proper procedures. The verdict also urged both the parties (the Tamils and the Sinhalese) to conduct their worship activities without interfering with the freedom of the other.

The monks responded with provoking protests causing tension.

The intention of the Sinhala Buddhist establishment is to wedge the territorial contiguity of the homeland of Eezham Tamils.

It is under these circumstances, the grassroots organisations started to promote a religious response to convey their attachment to the Saiva/Hindu temple.

Sinhalicisation and Theravada Buddhicisation targets Kokku'laay
Sinhalicisation and Theravada Buddhicisation targets Kokku'laay and the border between the North and East. The intention is to wedge the territorial contiguity of the homeland of Eezham Tamils [Satellite image courtesy: Google Earth, Legend by TamilNet]




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