Sinhala monks relaunch hate campaign against Poththuvil Muslims

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 26 May 2020, 20:43 GMT]
SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on 14 May dispatched his defence secretary Kamal Gunaratne to set up a navy sub-post at the coastal locality known as Mathuragn-cheanai in Poththuvil of Ampaa'rai district. Back in 2015, encroaching Sinhala Buddhist monks had erected a Vihara, Muhudu Maha Viharaya, in the lands belonging to SL Archaeology Department. Then, they started to harass the Tamil-speaking Muslims in the nearby area with the motive of annexing more lands to their temple. The monks were using the electoral politics to mobilise support to their campaign. Now, ahead of the SL Parliamentary elections, the issue has re-surfaced, especially after the chief prelates of the three chapters of the Sinhala Theravada Buddhist Maha Sangha met with Mr Gotabaya on 24 April 2020.

Gotabaya had promised to the chief prelates that he would allocate lands to Buddhist temples and assist developing “unutilised lands belonging to temples”. The monks and the SL President also agreed to have monthly follow-up meetings.

Now, the lands are going to be surveyed on Wednesday amidst SL Navy presence.

In the meantime, Tamil-speaking Muslims have been warned not to mobilise against the surveying, informed sources in Ampaa'rai said.

The move comes as the monks in the South relaunched a media and social media campaign alleging that archaeological and historical sites were being subjected to encroachments and vandalism. The accusations were made with particular reference to ‘Muhudu Maha Viharaya’.

When SL Defence Secretary and the Eastern Provincial Governor visited the locality, they had refused to engage with the civic and religious leaders of the Muslim residents in Poththuvil.

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 revised the acquisition, reducing the extent to thirty acres and three roods, giving up 42 acres of previously demarcated lands.

The Muslim people living in the area constructed their houses in the vacant 42 acres of lands.

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