Sumanthiran’s nexus with “Raava'na Senai” in Kanniyaa heritage dispute questioned

[TamilNet, Friday, 17 July 2020, 21:47 GMT]
Sinhala Buddhist extremist monk Ampitiye Seelawansa Tissa Thero has been escalating a heritage dispute at Kanniyaa Hot Wells by pushing for the construction of a Buddhist temple within the Saiva temple premises located in the lands that belong to a private landowner. When the case was taken up by the courts on Thursday, ITAK Parliamentarian and President’s Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran represented the owner of the temple lands Ms Ganesh Kokilaramany. Meanwhile, “Ravana Senai,” a shady outfit allegedly connected to Hindutva organisations in India is also in a dispute with Kokilaramany as it had transformed the mutt belonging to Pi'l'laiyaar temple into a Sivan temple. The group maintains rapport with the Seelawansa Tissa Thero and with Mr Sumanthiran who represents Kokilaramany.

Even though Judge M. Ilancheliyan questioned Seelawansa Thissa how he could demand a plot of land within the premises of a temple of a different religion, the monk didn't give up his controversial demand.

In a separate move, SL Police has restricted Rava'na Senai's access to the Sivan temple due to a complaint made by Kokilaramany.

Sumanthiran seems to have promised both Kokilaramany, who is his legal client and Rava'ana Senai his political ally in Trincomalee that he would bring an amicable solution. But, nothing has been resolved. Next hearing is scheduled for 25 September.

According to Ms Kokilaramany's claims, not only the temple but also the hot wells are situated in her private lands. Due to the geological heritage phenomenon and the religious significance of certain rituals, her family had agreed to entrust the civic council for the maintenance of the facility.

However, the Sinhala extremist monk, exerting political pressure through the SL State and the Police was opposing the domain of the council. Since 2010, SL Archaeological Department office based in Anuradhapura was collecting the income generated at Kanniyaa Hot Wells, according to Vipooshan Chandirarajah, who is an elected Councillor of Trincomalee Town and Gravets Divisional Council (PS).

Mr Vipooshand said the administration of income should be brought back under the control of the Divisional Council. It must be spent for the maintenance of the tourist attraction and to the benefit of the area, he said.

Furthermore, Tamils should regard the challenge posed by the monks and the deviationist groups and the personalities involved.

Kanniyaa Hot Wells is a collective heritage site of Tamils as it is situated in the lands that belonged to Tamils for centuries, he said.



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