SL Archaeology Department resumes plans to construct controversial ‘chaitya’ at Koonith-theevu

[TamilNet, Friday, 16 August 2019, 13:25 GMT]
The Acting Assistant Director of SL Archaeology Department WHA Sumanadasa, who is in charge of the regional office in Trincomalee, is pushing ahead with the plan of constructing a controversial ‘Buddhist chaitya’ at Maththa’la-malai hill-top in Choodaik-kudaa at Koonith-theevu, located to the south of Trincomalee. While all the attention is focused on Kanniyaa, Mr Sumanadasa has started to plan the reconstruction through various field trips to the disputed hill-top as well as to the lighthouse area, the trustees of the Saivaist “Kun’raththoor Maththa’la-malai Thiru-murukan temple” told TamilNet this week.

Maththa'la-malai
The location of Maththa'la-malai in Kooniththeevu, near Champoor in Moothoor East of Trincomalee district
Maththa'la-malai
Maththa'la-malai
The SL Archaeology Department claims that it had concluded through findings that the remains of an ancient ‘chaitya’ constitute a ‘scientific fact’, the Saiva temple trustees were told in a meeting they had with Mr Sumanadasa a few weeks ago.

When the temple trustees explained that it was not wise to construct the chaitya at a place where no Buddhists live, the assistant director said he did not need to take consideration to the concerns of the people living in the area. If necessary, the construction would be carried out deploying SL police to resist any objection.

The temple trustees then questioned what the point was with the meeting.

The SL Police severely harassed trustees in December 2017 and in January 2018 after a section of Buddhist monks objected against the existence of a Saiva village deity temple at the locality.

The people who were uprooted from the previously LTTE administrated Moothoor East in 2006 were partially allowed to resettle in the area after 2013. The Tamil devotees started to re-construct the destroyed temple for Murukan deity in August 2013. The SL Ministry of Hindu Affairs had also funded the operation of the temple until 2017.

The hill-top is located between Champoor East, West and Choodaik-kudaa (Kooniththeevu) in Moothoor division of Trincomalee district.

Maththa'la-malai
The location of Maththa'la-malai in Kooniththeevu
Moothoor East
Moothoor East [Image Courtesy: British made One Inch Map, revised in 1972 by 'Sri Lanka' Survey Department]


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