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2ND LEAD (Adds video)

SL police, backing monk, commit hate-crimes against Tamils, says assaulted journalist

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 21:28 GMT]
Two officers-in-charge (OICs) of the stations of Kokku’laay and Mullaith-theevu of the occupying SL police in Vanni, verbally abused a Tamil journalist, K. Kumanan, on Monday, a day after he reported their biased conduct against the Tamil Saiva devotees, who had gone to reinstate the name board at the disputed heritage site of Neeraaviyadi in Naayaa’ru. The OIC of Kokku’laay went a step further physically slapping the journalist at his neck as well as deliberately shaking his camera. The SL Police was also intimidating Kumanan by taking photos. “The police officers were not only attacking me, but they were also verbally abusing the entire Tamil media in a collective sense,” said the freelance reporter. The assault came a day after his report appeared in the Veerakesari daily.

Neeraviyadi episode
Neeraviyadi episode
SL Police, monk, harassing Tamil devotees on 26 May
Neeraviyadi episode
The Sinhalicised name ‘Ganadevi Devalaya’ [File Photo]
Neeraviyadi episode
Tamil devotees writing the name of the Saiva temple in Tamil after the removal of Sinhalicised name on 27 May 2019
Neeraviyadi episode
SL Police harassing journalist on 27 May
CCTV Cameras at Neeraaviyadi
CCTV Cameras at Neeraaviyadi
CCTV cameras fixed at the recently constructed Buddhist temple were allegedly filming the Tamil devotees visiting the Hindu temple. The Magistrate's Court in Mullaiththeevu instructed the SL Police to remove the CCTV cameras from the vicinity
The Sinhala OIC of Mullaiththeevu was blaming all the Tamil journalists as liars as he yelled and screamed in the face of Mr Kumanan.

The journalist commented that the actions by the SL police exposed the duplicity of the nature of the ‘governance’ of the SL State as the police continued to side with the intruding monk.

The District Court of Mullaith-theevu had recently ruled that the Sinhala Buddhist monk renaming the Tamil name of the Saiva temple from ‘Neeraaviyadip-pi'l'laiyaar' to ‘Ganadevi Devalaya’ in Sinhala was improper and that the trustee board of the Saiva temple could proceed with naming the Saiva temple the way it used to be before it was Sinhalicised. The SL Police was also instructed to facilitate the restoration of the name.

However, when the trustee board and the devotees went to the temple on Sunday, they were treated in a heavy-handed manner by the SL Police.

The people were forced to sit on the grounds outside the temple. Then, the Sinhala police officers were questioning the devotees by checking their identities as if they were a group of detainees. It was an act of expressing hostility against the ruling of the courts. The police were taking side with the intruding monk and objected the Tamil devotees erecting a new name board.

Tamil journalist Kumanan was quick to report the incident. On the following day, the trustees of the temple moved the courts again with the reported incident.

Mullaiththeevu District Judge S. Lenin Kumar strictly instructed the SL Police to abide by the ruling and ordered the CCTV cameras that could be used for video surveillance of the devotees to Saiva temple.

The CCTV cameras had been installed inside the recently erected Buddhist shrine in a manner to monitor the activities of the Saiva temple.

Mr Kumanan was attacked on 27 May when he went to witness the removal of the CCTV by the SL Police.

The cameras were put up violating the court ruling in January. The name board of the temple was also changed violating the initial verdict which maintained the status quo.

While the monk and the SL Archaeology Department failed to submit convincing proofs to the court in two hearings before its final verdict, were consistently violating the interim order by erecting a giant Buddha statue at the locality.

The Sinhala extremist monk, Kolamba Medhalankara Thera, is staying with the SL Army's 593rd Brigade at Naayaa'ru.

The monk, with the backing of the Sinhala military and the SL Archaeology Department, was proceeding with the construction and went ahead with hurriedly installing a big Buddha statue in December 2018 and January 2019.

Kolamba Medhalankara Thera also wants to change the name of Naayaa'ru. The name means narrow backwaters or lagoon of beavers/otters (Neer-naay or Meen-naay). “The name is unrespectful as it contains a reference to a dog (naay). It is a natural shelter and should be named differently,” the monk told a journalist visiting the place recently.

There are more than 40 places identified as heritage sites in Mullaiththeevu district. The monk wants to expand his Sinhala Buddhicisation work to all those places. “Tamils came to this area only in the 13th century,” the monk claims.

Tamil devotees putting up the name-board of the Saiva temple of Neeraaviyadi Pi'l'laiyaar at the locality on 27 May 2019

Former Northern Provincial Councillor T. Ravikaran categorically denied the claim of the monk. It was this myth cultivated by the Sinhala Theravada Buddhist establishment, which was the cause of all problems that befall this island.

“It is not possible to educate these monks. They hold on to their myth-based perceptions with so much hatred against the Tamils,” Mr Ravikaran said.

The monk, residing at a building constructed by the SL Archaeology Department, has erected the Buddha statue with the help of Sinhala soldiers.

Naayaa'ru is an ancient coastal village of Eezham Tamils situated in Chemmalai-East GS division. The traces of Buddhist heritage belong to Tamil Buddhism. The occupying Colombo is deploying all its institutions allowing the monks to convert these localities into Sinhala Theravada Buddhist installations.

Neeraviyadi RTI response
The response to an RTI-based request from the Divisional Secretariat in September 2018. It confirms that there was only Neeraaviyadi Pi'l'laiyaar temple at the locality. There was no Buddhist vihara previously at the site and no Buddhists living in the area. There was no permission given by the Divisional Secretariat to the construction, the RTI response states.
Neeraviyadi RTI response
Furthermore, the monk constructing the vihara at the site had not obtained the lands through the DS office and he has not made any application before constructing the Buddhist vihara. The monk was also staying in the public lands without securing any permission from the Divisional Secretariat, the RTI response states.

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