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Sinhala Police OIC hit Tamil women with vehicle for opposing monks-led heritage ‘task force’

[TamilNet, Sunday, 12 July 2020, 10:04 GMT]
The vehicle of SL Police Officer-in-Charge(OIC) of Vellave'li station PWM Anandasiri hit protesting Tamil women causing injuries to them on Thursday. The OIC has threatened the protesting Tamils of Veaththuch-cheanai village in Batticaloa that he would book them under various pretexts if they continued to agitate against the SL Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the so-called Archaeological Heritage Management. The OIC secured a court order and has named 12 residents as respondents who objected the entry by the SL Archaeology Department to the folk-deity temple of Vairavar and nearby playground, the residents said. Veaththuch-cheanai is a hamlet situated in Vellaa-ve'li of Poaratheevup-pattu DS division, 40 km south of Batticaloa city.

The OIC and his crew were taking photos of the residents at the protest and warned that all those photographed by him could be arrested. He was also threatening to fix a CCTV camera after fencing off the area surrounding the temple. If more than two people entered the fenced area, they would be arrested he said.

The women told TamilNet that they would go to the extent of committing mass suicide if the Sinhala monks, military and police continued the attempt to seize their temple and the playground. Sinhala extremist monks-led PTF on “Heritage Management” intruded temples on the pretext of “Buddhist archaeological findings”.

While the Sinhala Police OIC was insisting on driving his vehicle across the protesting villagers, Tamil District Secretary Ms S.R. Rahulanayaki and the village officer, who accompanied him got off their cars and walked to the temple site.

The SL Police wants to put up a fence and limit public access to the ground that is higher in elevation than its surrounding. The ground includes an ancient tamarind tree, Vairavar-deity and nearby playgrounds.

Narrating the story of their folk-deity, Ms Sivapackiyam Sivarasa told TamilNet that their ancestors have been worshipping Vairavar deity for 400 years. There was also the custom of another worship, known as Vathanamaar Chadangku (வதனமார் சடங்கு, vataṉamār caṭaṅku) in the past. Vathanamaar was a nomadic tribe, often associated with taming forest cattle in the East and the tribe was regarded as possessing spiritual capacities. Vathanamaar Chadangku later evolved as a ritual of offerings to seek divine energy to protect the cattle by Tamil farmers.

The villagers worship a Trisulam (a trident) at the ancient tamarind tree. It is at the highest ground in the area which survived natural calamities and onslaughts during the war.

Ilangeswary Murugiah, who often recites incantations, said she was told by the deity appearing in her dreams to regard the encroaching intruders as “miscreants” (துட்டர், tuṭṭar/tuṣṭar).

Her sister, Ilangkathevy Murugiah, said the dispute started two months ago after the SL Archaeology Department and SL Police began to claim that they had found some ancient stones.

Tamil officials in Ma'ndoor told TamilNet that no such competent authority ever visited the site. However, two Tamil workers who had no expertise in the field of Archaeology were seen visiting the locality as well as other locations such as Ma'ndoor Murukan temple and Thaanthaa-malai. The two graduates, Kugan and Kohulam, were collecting some artefacts, the informed sources said.

However, SL police were claiming that the SL Archaeology Department had conducted “preliminary” surveys at the locality in 1972 and in June 2017.

The residents described the SL Archaeology Department claims as fake. They were never displaced, even at the height of war, and there were no such field visits, the women maintained.

Ms Ilangeswary said she had not witnessed any such intrusion in her lifetime so far. She is 66.

The villagers, who have learnt to be self-reliant, however, said there was no infrastructure assistance to their village from the SL authorities. Except a pre-school, there is no infrastructure.

Not only the SL authorities but Tamil politicians, who are known to promise things especially during the time of elections, have also not done anything so far, Samayanthy Mathan, another woman, said.

Maheswary Rasamanikam said 2,000 people belonging to 96 families living in the area will go to any extent, even to commit suicide if the Sinhala monks and the authorities continued their aggression towards that lands.

“We have been preserving the site properly for ages without any alteration. There is no other God here,” she said.

The lands belong to private owners, she reiterated.



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