Monks step up campaign against Muslims, want to carve out Sinhala colony in Ampaa'rai

[TamilNet, Saturday, 12 October 2019, 22:23 GMT]
Sinhala Theravada Buddhist monks in robe have again started to escalate a land dispute along the coast in Poththvuil division of Ampaa'rai district in the East. The elected Divisional Council (PS) was prepared to allocate three acres of lands to the Buddhist vihara, which the monks had put up in illegally seized plot of three-quarter of an acre. The vihara was erected four years ago with the backing of the SL Navy and the presidential election in 2015. Now, the monks want a large tract of land, up to 42 acres and more, MS Abdul Wazeeth, the chairman of the elected Divisional Council told TamilNet on Saturday. The Tamil-speaking Muslims in Poththuvil fear that the monks were scheming a Sinhala colony at the locality, which is known as Mathuragn-cheanai in Tamil. Using the presidential race, the monks seek to secure additional resources for a future Sinhala colony there, they complained.

MSA Wazeeth
MSA Wazeeth
The SL Archaeology Department was now under pressure from the monks to reverse a recent court ruling, Mr Wazeeth said.

The court had ruled in favour of the Divisional Council proposal of putting up protective structures against coastal landslide in the lands that had earlier been abandoned by the SL Archaeology Department.

Back in 1956, the SL department demarcated 72 acres of lands for archaeological purposes. There was no big spread of monuments than already detected, and the department later revised the acquisition reducing the extent to thirty acres and three roods giving up 42 acres of previously demarcated lands.

During this time, the Muslim people living in the area constructed their houses in the vacant lands.

The thirty-acres and three roods of lands belonging to the SL Archaeology Department are intact, and the Divisional Council has helped to keep that area without any encroachment. Recently, the department had put up border stones as well.

As the homes of the people were confronting the danger of dunes reaching the height of 30 meters during the monsoon seasons, the protective structure was being consolidated involving the SL Department of Coast Conservation.

That construction was taking place within the 42-acres of lands that had been abandoned by the department.

Even though the monks were objecting, the court granted permission to proceed with the work as the SL Archaeology Department did not claim the area under question.

Muhudu Maha Viharaya, Poththuvil
Newly placed statues along the coast. The monks establishment is behind the erection of stupa and the new statues

Maithiripala Sirisena taking part in Poththuvil vihara ceremony
Now the SL Department seems to have been convinced by the monks to survey the original extent of 72 acres of lands, and the court has issued a stay order against proceeding the construction work until a final ruling.

The monks are trying to use the opportunity created by the presidential election to provoke Sinhala sentiments and reclaim the lands abandoned by the SL Archaeological Department to convert the properties to their Vihara establishment. The move aims to create a future Sinhala colony where no Sinhala Buddhists live at present.

There were no Sinhala settlers at the locality between 1951 and 2019, Mr Wazeeth told TamilNet.



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