19 May, 2024

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Jaffna University Teachers’ Association Condemns Arrests & Police Excesses Against Priests, Devotees & Political Leaders On Maha Sivaraathiri

Statement Issued by the University of Jaffna Teachers’ Association on the Police Excesses and Arrests at the Vedukkunaarimalai Shrine on the Sivaraathiri Night

The University of Jaffna Teachers’ Association vehemently condemns the arrests and police excesses against the priests, devotees and political leaders who were engaged in religious observances at the Vedukkunaarimalai Athi Lingeswarar Shrine on the Maha Sivaraathiri night.   

Maha Sivaraathiri is an important day on the Saivite, Hindu calendar. On Maha Sivaraathiri, Saivites and Hindus across the world keep vigil all night and engage in religious observances in temples and other places of worship. On the Maha Sivaarathiri night, the Police entered into the Athi Lingeswarar Shrine at Vedukkunaarimalai in Vavuniya district under the pretext of protecting the site as one earmarked for archaeological survey, while the devotees were participating in poojas and rituals. The Police caused immense difficulties to the devotees by denying them access to drinking water. They went on to disturb the poojas and later, with brute force, evicted the devotees. Some of those who were gathered at the Shrine were later arrested and are still under police custody. The University of Jaffna Teachers’ Association points out that these dastardly acts constitute a serious violation of the religious rights and freedoms of the minorities in Sri Lanka.   

The incident at Vedukkunaarimalai is not a mere act of police excess and violence; it should instead be seen as one of the latest manifestations of the violence of Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism that the different regimes of Sri Lanka have resorted to with a view to suppressing the religious lives of the minority populations of the country. Not just Hindus but the followers of Christianity and Islam too have been affected by this violence. It is important to point out here that as a country with the Constitution that offers foremost place to Buddhism among other religions, communalism is an entrenched feature of the Sri Lankan state. Therefore, the police excesses that the devotees at the Vedukkunaarimalai Shrine were subjected to should be seen as a structural violence emanating from the communalist character of the state.

The successive governments of Sri Lanka have been, for decades, engaged in Sinhalizing and Buddhisizing the Northern and Eastern regions of the country where Tamil-speaking communities form the majority population. These processes aim to weaken the Tamil and Muslim communities in the region politically, economically and culturally. As part of these longstanding processes, accelerated attempts have been made in the recent years to Sinhala-Buddhisize many Hindu sites of worship including the Vedukkunaarimalai Shrine under the guise of archaeological survey.

The University of Jaffna Teachers’ Association underlines that there is no place for the opinions, aspirations and voice of the communities that have for generations worshipped religious sites located in the North-East, when such sites have been earmarked for archaeological survey. Such archaeological initiatives are implemented from Colombo in a highly centralized, top-down manner with the aid of the military apparatuses of the state with an agenda of Sinhala-Buddhisizing the region. Archaeology is weaponized during these initiatives as a form of violence against the local communities, their religious beliefs and devotional practices. The arrests and excesses that happened on the Sivaraathiri night should be seen in this light as an instance of the weaponization of archaeology to establish Sinhala-Buddhist hegemony over the other communities in the North-East of the island.

Whilst emphasizing that all those who were arrested should be released immediately without prosecution, the University of Jaffna Teachers’ Association demands the government of Sri Lanka to put an end to Sinhala-Buddhisizing the North-East under the pretext of archaeological survey, forest conservation, wildlife protection, the Mahaweli development initiative and other such deceptive schemes and programs. The Association firmly believes that it is only by dismantling the communalist and ethnocratic character of the state and its constitution that the people who inhabit this island can live as equal citizens without having to face religious or ethnic exclusion. The Association calls upon all those who express their protest against the recent incident at the Vedukkunaarimalai shrine to come forward to demand fundamental political changes in the character of the state as a way of defeating racism and communalism in the country.

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  • 0
    14

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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    • 0
      14

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

      For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

      • 6
        30

        Can one thank the moderator?

        • 1
          13

          The red faces indicate that the moderator deserves to be thanked.

  • 46
    4

    Thanks for the article well done for stating the truth, Hope it will be an eyeopener for all at what is really happening on the island to the Thamizh, including to the self-hating ones.

  • 42
    4

    Also thank you Colombo Telegraph the only southern news site run by Chignkallams to have published this news, to bring it to people’s attention, whilst there is a news blackout of this incident in the southern Chingkalla and English news sites.

  • 29
    0

    On the day of Maha Shivratri, in Adilingeswarar temple, the Police arrested eight people including the priest who was performing pooja in compliance with the Court’s Order. What right has the Police to prevent devotees to worship Lord Shiva. Why was the Police silent when President Ranil Wickremasinghe removed his shirt and entered the Nallur Kandasamy Temple and listened to the mantra “Om Murugaya Namaha”. Likewise is it wrong to chant the mantra “Om Namashivaya”? Will the Sinhalese policemen and Buddhists who chants “Buddham Saranam Kachchami …….. ” engage in such uncivilized acts & violate the provisions of the Constitution. Do the Police know that Lord Shiva has nothing like gold, material, ornaments (other than Rudraksha mala), land or mansion. But Lord Shiva does not tolerate such devotees suffering or suffering from another human being. He will not leave the Police and his followers unpunished. This is what they call in Tamil “Shivan’s Soththu Kula Nasam”. Only time will provide the answer.

    • 13
      17

      AYATHURAY RAJASINGAM

      Please let us know how does S. Kajendran Jaffna MP places himself in strategic positions during protests attracting maximum publicity without being seriously injured or severely harmed by our cuddly policemen or members of STF?

      • 34
        1

        Native, leaving politicians out of this , do you think this will ever happen in Lanka to Buddhist on a special poya day while they were offering prayers in a disputed site???

        • 14
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          chiv

          “…. do you think this will ever happen in Lanka to Buddhist on a special poya day while they were offering prayers in a disputed site???”

          People do not like these kinds of low level conflicts. However police, politicians, saffronistas, functionaries, and crooks are keen on keeping such conflicts going at a manageable intensity.

          Rajapaksas and Ranil are happy to see things don’t go out of control. Given Kajendran alleged past relation with state functionaries no wonder why he is at places where conflicts are created of exists.

          He still hasn’t explained as to why he demanded the state/government/armed forces to prepare 40,000 coffins during the peak of the war.

          He is yet to explain how his brother who was detained by the state was released without being charged.

          I wonder if he is another state groomed suitable agent provocateur to help the state clamp down on legitimate protests.

          Regarding the Buddhists Poya days in Sri Lanka, those days are meant for “kaala beela jollyang” inta (eat drink and make merry) except for a relatively small number pious Buddhists. They do not approve of political Buddhism.

          I am worried more about loudspeaker noise pollution caused by every religious sect than Vidura Wickremanayaka’s inability or unwillingness to abide by court order, as this is the norm in this island.

          • 8
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            Native. absolutely right.

        • 23
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          Buddhism enjoys foremost place in Sri Lanka!!??? Axiomatic, department of Archeology is demonstrated that fact to the Poor rural Illiterate Sinhala Buddhists, enthralled by that vote for the Government at next elections.
          It goes without saying, this is only the ‘entre’, for the favourable vote to realise, needs, Rs 5000 (may be USD depreciation demands Rs 10,000 at least) + 1/4 Gal + Chicken Biriyani to Boot!!??
          That’s why Mr. 10% in town to enable that facility!!??
          Hooray for Sri Lanka and Hooray for BR!!!??? Master Fabricator and Architect and endearing Politician, without equal for replacement!!!???

      • 23
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        Native Vedda,
        The issue is whether Vedukunarimalai Adi Lingeswarar temple is a place of archaeological importance. The presence of S.Gajendran is to demonstrate that Vedukunarimalai Adi Lingeswarar temple incident is not just a matter of archeological preservation but a manifestation of a long-standing evil strategy of Sinhalese Buddhist organizations and Buddhist monks associated with the Sri Lankan government to take over the lands of the Tamil people in the North-East.

        • 16
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          AR , I’m not here to defend the politician or the rogue swami . As Native said the duo shows up where / when , ever there are disputes.

          • 11
            11

            ANY PUBLICITY IS GOOD PUBLITY ESPECIALLY, FOR ANY POLITICIAN! And it comes Free-of-Charge, Prime Time!!???

  • 37
    1

    It is clear that this has been the government policy for the last 76 years. What do you expect when the government spends their limited energy on unproductive activities. It is so unfortunate that the country’s rulers have mixed up their priorities. Haven’t they learnt anything from 76 years of bankrupt economic, political and social policies?

    The SB nationalists within the government with the help from anti-social elements are not going to abandon this agenda using government apparatus and funds. Funds are also flowing from some expatriate Sinhalese, the same way some Tamils supported LTTE. What they don’t realize is that they are helping the misery of Sri Lankans to continue.

    Why all the countries, where Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim diaspora live a comfortable life, celebrate diversity, that is not good for SL? These countries grow their population and encourage diversity in the country and boardrooms for prosperity.

    If this is to continue, there is no salvation for the next 76 years.

  • 14
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    Sue the Police Department making both the IGP and the Minister respondents…!

    • 28
      1

      Does it serve any purpose? As long as corruption is personified by the President, Prime Minister, Ministers, and MPs, the court of law is of no use.

      • 9
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        True. That’s why we need to get rid of these corrupt politicians starting from the citizen number one, the President Ranil Wickremasinghe and establish a new political order, a new political culture, but guess who stands in the way and want Wickremasinghe to stay in power…?
        .
        Initiative itself matters sometimes even if it does not serve a purpose…

        • 15
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          Not corrupt politicians really, the corrupted minds driven by chauvinist and narrow nationalist thought that breed such politicians and shift the blame on corrupt politicians for fulfilling their wicked thoughts.

    • 25
      2

      Why not the SB instigators and Red Robed Thattaya’s INSTEAD!!??

  • 36
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    What a disgrace when the women and devotees were chanting ” Om Namasivaya” they were attacked brutally by the Sinhalese police and with the officials from the Archeological department watching. The people attending the temple were forced to walk through thick jungle for and were not even allowed to take drinking water. The Sivarathiri vigil when darkness falls, and the devotees were attacked by the Sinhalese police and told to disperse as soon as darkness fell. It is well known that many Sinhalese hardliners and ministers were behind this, including an ex-army racist hardliner who threatens Tamils in and outside the parliament. On the contrary see how Sivarathiri was celebrated in harmony in India. Listen to this beautiful mesmerizing ancient chant to Lord Siva and classical Tamil. In one of the important Sivarathiri venues in Kovai in India.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sqkh-9aIQFU&list=RDSqkh-9aIQFU&start_radio=1

    • 36
      3

      The police are there to uphold the law and protect the citizens. However, they even acted against the court orders that gave permission to hold the Maha Sivarathiri Pooja at the temple. They are acting as agents for extremist Sinhalese Buddhist monks, politicians who are intent on creating problems with staff all Sinhalese fron the so-called Archaeological department. that is now being weaponized with a Sinhalese Buddhist agenda, to Sinhalize and Buddhisize the Tamil north and east. They constantly humiliating the and trampling on the feelings of the island’s Tamils and Hindus and this sort of behaviour cannot be tolerated anymore.

      • 34
        3

        Tamil Hindus cannot even celebrate one of their most important festivals Maha Sivarathiri in one of their own ancient temples in their own homeland, that now the so-called Archeological department now all of a sudden claim to be Sinhalese Buddhist. There is a deliberate attempt to deny and destroy the ancient history of the island’s Tamils and their monuments and historical sites forcibly converted to Sinhalese Buddhist, especially after the defeat of the LTTE in May 2009. Claim everything as Sinhalese Buddhist. The right to practice your religion and wordship and celebrate your religious festivals at your own temples, especially in your own homeland is a fundamental right, that is now being increasingly being denied to Hindu Tamils by the Sinhalese Sri Lankan state, using fake history and Archaeology and radical Buddhist monks.

    • 19
      3

      SSS,
      Many thanks for the link. Enjoyed!!! What consoling effect!!??

      • 10
        3

        Thanks.

  • 32
    4

    Now any ancient Hindu temple in the Tamil north and east, especially in strategic areas, can be declared a place of interest by the so-called Archaeological Department, as there are Sinhalese Buddhist ruins and the local Tamil Hindus denied a place of worship, even contradicting court orders. This nonsense has to stop.

  • 33
    2

    76 years of Racism brought our country to Bankruptcy.
    We sent all the Hardworking Tamil public servants away by Sinhala only act.
    With standardization we created LTTE
    We encouraged corruption to win the war.
    If not for Ravism we would have been better than Singapore.
    Lee Kuan yu publicly acknowledged the contribution by Jaffna Tamils to the prosperity of Singapore.
    Still we have not learnt the lesson,.Not a single do called National Newdpare carried this atrocity committed by police and archaeology department.
    We deserve to starved to death for the complicity of the crime committed in our name

    • 26
      3

      “Still, we have not learnt the lesson,”
      How could and would Modaya’s be enabled, when they also lack proper education!?
      Red Robbed Thattaya’s supposed to lead the FLOCK, are Greater Modayas, Pirivena Level education, claimed to be University Graduates, PHD’s Doctorates, Misleading and leading them stray in Gay Abandon!!??
      Doctorates are DISTRIBUTED to all sorts of Nincompoops very liberally, Including “Merv The Perv”, arrived in Std 4 in School and examination results not known!!! He has Doctorate!! All University Senate should be examined for their erudition and qualification too!!
      Mad House!!

  • 31
    4

    Not a single national newspaper, in Chingkallam or English printed this atrocity committed by the police in cohorts with the department of Archeology, as they are all complicit and in cohorts with what is happening and most probably have been told by the powers not to print/publish this atrocity. Also, most of these journalists and news editors think this is what the island’s Thamizh deserve and as usual trivialize what happens to them, whilst as usual hypocritically crying out about the plight of the Palestinians, as you see many here doing the same. Proves how high and how much racism against Thamizh has seeped into Chingkalla society. They will not dare to do the same thing to a mainstream Christian church or a Mosque, as they are afraid of reaction of the powerful western Christian world or the world Islamic society. They are fully aware that India does not care about the Eezham Thamizh and overtly and covertly supports the Chingkalla Sri Lankan state.

  • 33
    6

    It is only the Eezham Thamizh, their ancient Saivite religion and historical and religious structures that challenge the myth and lies that this island has been only Chingkalla Buddhist from ancient times, therefore they want to destroy all traces and vestige of the ancient Eezham Thamizh culture, historical monuments and their homeland by falsely claiming everything as Chingkalla Buddhist and using the state apparatus and resources to do so. The southern state-run media, journalists, institutions, religious bodies, and elite are all behind this, so this new blackout to carry out their diabolical deeds, in case some right thinking Chingkallam may protest or be a backlash and the world might know.

    • 8
      34

      Pandi,
      There is nothing Tamil in Sinhala Buddhist Sri Lanka to be destroyed, except they are destruction itself.
      /
      There are no ETHNIC Tamils in Sri Lanka. Now the community who identify themselves as Tamils are actually Dutch brought tobacco plantation Malabari slaves.

  • 9
    35

    Well done police! Thank you for protecting Buddhist sites.
    /
    Those morons must know Sri Lanka is a Sinhala Buddhist country.
    /
    Since minorities are not indiginiouse to Sri Lanka like Sinhala Buddhists, they only have privileges, not rights.

    • 23
      1

      Now that the circus (elections ) is in town, Jester has taken different avatars, all equipped with “rent a thumb” machines.

    • 23
      0

      “Since minorities are not indiginiouse to Sri Lanka like Sinhala Buddhists”
      What about the Sinhala caste minorities and the descendants of Indian immigrants among the majority?
      If at all, the only indigenous people are the Attho.

    • 22
      1

      Sinhala Buddhist thuggery is alive and well. Sinhala Buddhist (SB) campaign of disinformation continues on. The state’s archaeological department leading the way to falsify and facilitate SB colonisation.

  • 15
    4

    This is disgraceful and criminal, just one incident in a long, long history of brutality. There is no hope for the Tamils. They have tried everything from satyagraha to armed rebellion. Their own leaders consort with the Government of the day and deceive them. If I were a Tamil I’d emigrate.
    .
    How is it that the Government doesn’t demolish mosques? Modi would approve. Middle Eastern money?

  • 21
    0

    Both Tiran Alles and Deshabandu Tennekoon are seeking the blessings of Adhi Lingeswarer to divert attention from their otherwise sordid curricular vitae.

    Tiran Alles to shift focus away from his loot parked in the UK.
    Deshabandu has to justify his unjustified appointment as IGP.
    Hinduism Vs. Buddhism.
    Both know that the average Sinhala Buddhist would swallow this Hook,Line and Sinker.

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