13 December, 2019

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Mob Led By Buddhist Priest Forcefully Takes Away Pillaiyar Statue From Hindu Temple

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj –

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

In a peculiarly aggressive display of “Saffron Terrorism” a mob led by a Buddhist Priest has deployed force and taken away a statue of the Elephant faced deity known as Pillaiyar in Tamil and Gana Deiyo in Sinhala from a Hindu temple in Panamai on the Eastern coastal district of Amparai.

In a flagrant violation of law and order and the freedom of worship, an ancient statue of God Pillaiyar also known as Vinayagar and Ganesh was seized by a mob and taken away from the Sithi Vinayagar Hindu temple in Panamai /Panama in broad daylight on Monday August 6th.

The “captured” Pillaiyar statue has been taken to the Buddhist Vihare in Panamai by the mob comprising thugs, homeguards and members of the armed forces in civil attire. The entire operation was masterminded and commanded by a Buddhist Priest.

The Pillaiyar statue is now being kept in the premises of the Panama Buddhist Vihare

At a time when Muslim Congress leader and Justice minister Rauf Hakeem has publicly requested President Rajapaksa to eradicate “saffron Terrorism” in the same way he eradicated “tiger terrorism” the conduct of the Panamai Buddhist priest suggests that Saffron Terrorism continues to manifest itself in different forms in the country.

While Saffron Terrorism is aimed at demolishing places of worship venerated by adherents of the Islamic, Christian and Hindu faiths in several places or advocates curbs on the practices of minority community religions , the incident at Panamai is of a different nature it appears.

In this instance the venerated statue of Pillaiyar has been appropriated through force and taken to a Buddhist vihare for specific reasons that are yet unclear.

According to residents of Panamai the Pillaiyar temple here has been in existence for many centuries. The Pillaiyar statue too is of rare vintage and has been worshipped devoutly by Hindus and Buddhists for many, many years.

Recently the temple itself was renovated and a Kumbhabishekham ceremony held. A new Pillaiyar statue was installed in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

The old statue regarded as having special powers was placed at the frontal premises of the temple.

Devotees however continued to worship both statues and usually dashed coconuts to the older statue. Most Buddhists too worshipped at the Hindu temple and made vows to the ancient Pillaiyar statue.

Pillaiyar is usually revered as the remover of obstacles and the God who blesses beginnings. Regarded as the eldest son of Lord Shiva and Parvathy, Pillaiyar is a patron of the arts and also the deity of Intellect and wisdom. Pillaiyar is worshipped devoutly at times of trouble, before commencing long journeys and at beginnings of rituals,events and ceremonies.

The Panamai Pillaiyar was therefore widely worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists. The ancient statue was worshipped more by Sinhalese after it was brought outside.

Panamai in the Pottuvil Electoral division of the Eastern Province district of Amparai has a mixed population of Tamils, Sinhalese and Veddahs. The Sinhalese in Panamai are descendants of People from the Uva province who relocated to the East coast after the British ruthlessly suppressed the Uva-Wellassa rebellion.

The primary caste groups in Panamai are the Vellalas and Goigamas and those of the Dhobi caste. These castes are dominant among both Sinhala and Tamils. Historically there has been lots of inter-mingling among the Sinhalese and Tamils who have inter-married into each others families. Both ethnic groups are fluent in the Sinhala and Tamil languages.

The Buddhists have been worshipping for long at the Hindu temple as a Buddhist vihare was constructed here only in the early fifties of the previous century.

This happy state of ethnic amity and coexistence has been under strain during the years of the war between the Armed Forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). After the war ended a “political Buddhism” ideology has permeated the consciousness of many Sinhala youths enlisted as Home guards. Military personnel stationed in the area also contribute to this situation.

Despite this the older generations of both communities continue to maintain cordial relations to a great extent.Buddhists continued to worship the Pillaiyar statue at the Hindu temple

Against this backdrop the local Buddhist priest had started demanding that the old statue be handed over to him.Since he could not provide a satisfactory reason for such a request the Trustees of the Hindu temple refused to oblige

This infuriated the Buddhist priest who had on more than one occasion threatened the temple authorities and had even brought groups of thugs to intimidate them. There had also been two attempts by “unknown”persons to clandestinely steal the statue during nightfall.

This had necessitated a batch of volunteers sleeping at night in the temple vicinity to safeguard the statue.

The Hindus of Panamai had also complained to the Police and Army in the area about the matter and requested the authorities to take appropriate action. Nothing however was done but the Buddhist priest was further incensed by this.

The Panamai residents also appealed to Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP for Batticaloa district, Seenithamby Yogeswaran who telephoned Police and Army officials. Again no action was taken.

Matters came to a head on Monday August 6th when a mob led by the Buddhist priest invaded the Hindu temple premises during day time and attempted to take the statue away. When the Poosari priests and devotees resisted they were roughly manhandled and assaulted.

The large mob comprising known thugs, homeguards and security personnel in civils outnumbered those who were trying to protect the statue.Also because of the involvement of the security factor the people were helpless.

The mob took away the statue to the Buddhist vihare premises.

The Hindu devotees have lodged complaints to the Police and Army.They also informed TNA Parliamentarian Yogeswaran who has sought an appointment with Prime Minister DM Jayaratne to complain about the incident and request urgent remedial action.

It is unclear as to why exactly the statue was taken away.One reason adduced is that the Priest intends installing the statue permanently within the Buddhist vihare premises and thereby wean away Buddhists from worshipping at the Hindu temple.

Another suspicion is that given the popularity of the Pillaiyar the ulterior aim is to “disappear” the statue so that the mystique attached to it would diminish.

The third theory is that the statue is to be sold as a valuable idol to antique collectors.

Whatever the motive the crude action of the Buddhist priest has caused much grief and sadness to the 250 plus Hindu families of Panamai.

This act of blatant “saffron terrorism” is indeed unique as it is perhaps the only instance where adherents of one religion invade the place of worship of another religion and seize the deity and bring it back to their place of worship.

But then the process of appropriating another religious place of worship has also prevailed in Sri Lanka for long. The best (or worst) illustration of this process can be seen at Kataragama which used to be known as Kathirkaamam.

DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at dbsjeyaraj@yahoo.com

Courtesy dbsjeyaraj.com

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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    People of all religions, Hindu, Christian, Muslim and Buddhists in Lanka must unit to fight state-sponsored military Buddhism that the Rajapassa regime and its allies, the JHU, are spreading to distract people and divide and rule the communities in Lanka.
    RAJAPAKSE WANTS TO CAUSE RELIGIOUS DIVIDES AND DISTRACT PEOPLE FROM THE FACT THAT HIS REGIME IS THE REAL THREAT TO DEMOCRACY AND PEACE IN LANKA TODAY. Now that the war with the LTTE is over and Rajapakse is facing stiff opposition from the people (not that awful creep Ranil Wickramainshe) he and this allies are fanning the flames of religious conflict and intolerance. The fact is that the real problem in Lanka today is the barbaric, greedy and rapacious Rajapakse family that is beggering the country. Rajapassa and his bro. must be packed off to the Hague for War crimes and propagating hate speech.

    • 0
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      This man DBS Jeyaraj is in the same camp of KP of the LTTE who is under protection of MR and the govt. Forces. When KP was escorted by our Security, from Malaysia to Bangkok to Sri Lanka, it was projected as KP was abducted and brought through Immigration of foreign countries bypassing all formalities. This man DBS Jeyaraj wrote of the episode living thousands of miles away to convince the readers as if he was in the adjoining room of the hotel in Malaysia. This was a deliberate attempt to mislead the masses to enable KP to enter the Political Field with the blessings of MR. Thereafter writing articles helping MR’s cause expecting a settlement, now in a quandary and complaining.

    • 0
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      The greedy and power hungry safron terrorist monk should be arrested and thrown in Prison. The NGOs who are paid to talk about religious harmony should use some of their bucks to do something real and file a case in court on behalf of the devotees of Panamai against the monk for vandalism, hate speech and disturbing the peace – rather than talking a lot of hot air about religious harmony and making money on hot air!

    • 0
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      Why ?

      Why ?

      Why Buddhists stole the Hindu God Pillaiyar Statue from Hindu Temple ???

      This how the wars are started!! Our beautiful island has enough of bloodshed and suffering !!

      This kind of arrogance is extremely dangerous to Sri Lanka fragile peace process

      • 0
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        THE CONSTITUTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF SRI LANKA
        <Previous Chapter

        Lasantha Pethiyagoda:

        asks too many questions

        Part of the answer lies in the constitution,

        {THE CONSTITUTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF SRI LANKA
        CHAPTER II – BUDDHISM

        Buddhism.
        9. The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e).}

        If you want change please change the constitution.

      • 0
        0

        Lasantha Pethiyagoda:

        asks too many questions

        Part of the answer lies in the constitution,

        {THE CONSTITUTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF SRI LANKA
        CHAPTER II – BUDDHISM

        Buddhism.
        9. The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e).}

        If you want change please change the constitution.

        • 0
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          Native I believe the time has come to change the Constitution and create a Secular Society. How can the State protect and foster a Religion if that Religion is unable to foster or protect itself? Even under the British where some of the Buddhists in this country accuse the British of unfair treatment to Buddhists, Buddhism has never been denigrated to this low levels as today, being fostered and looked after by the State. Further no Buddhist Temple went into closure under the British. In a Multi Ethnic and a Multi Religious Society, why should the State foster one Religion over the others?

      • 0
        0

        The above comments were not made by me. On the contrary,it seems as though someone has stolen my identity and is writing under my name illegally. I would like to request this person to either use his real name or use a pseudonym rather than use my name.

      • 0
        0

        Please note that the above comments were not made by me. On the contrary,it seems as though someone has stolen my identity and is writing under my name illegally. I would like to request this person to either use his real name or use a pseudonym rather than use my name.

  • 0
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    THESE FRIENDLY FAMILIES OF PANAMAI HAVE INTERMARRIED INTO EACH OTHER’S RACES. WHY IS THIS SAFFRON CLAD MADHAAVIYA TRYING TO DESTROY THESE PEOPLE?

  • 0
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    Rajapakse is probably mindful of the fate suffered by last prime minister who disregarded saffron-robed bigots; SWRD Bandaranaike.

    The President, is so heavily reliant on a his dim-witted family and a significant corps of thugs gangsters, that he will not dare to offend any of them.

    Furthermore, where are the judiciary and law enforcement while this is going on?

    Is there any hope for Sri Lanka while such behaviour by monks is permitted to continue? I don’t think so.

  • 0
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    Law of the jungle prevailing in Sri-Lanka.

  • 0
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    This incident in way indicates the kind of Sinhala-Buddhist ‘solution’ to the Tamil National question:Tamils cannot worship even their own gods separately and that they have to go to the Buddhist temple premises to do that.

    • 0
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      These saffron robed terrorists are being covered and sheltered by the maniac fundamentalist JHU pigs and the Rajapakse mafia rogues, this is another case for the UN to take up with no freedom to worship in peace and that the Hindu gods are being hijacked by the saffron terrorist as they do not have a God to worship, as buddhism is only a way of life with no solace for people to turn to for their day to day scourges and agony the people of this country are going through. Naturally these saffron maniacs have to rob other gods from Hindu temples when they do not have a God of their own. Its time for these monks to go searching for the real living and powerful God who can work miracles and gives them the peace that surpasses all understanding.

  • 0
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    I’ve been to Kanniya in Trincomalee last month. What I saw there is a naked full blown religious terrorism by the sate. A Pillayar temple at the Hot Wells had been decommissioned by the military, two big Budhist statue had been erected since the end of war, the YMHA that administered this site had been chased out by the military, the Hindu priest who performed pooja at the temple had been asked to not to come to the site. Armed military is present at the site round the clock and they have set up a camp at the Hindu temple. What I saw was disgusting and sickening. A Hindu site had been forcefully converted to a Budhist one by the military. This is a worst religious terrorism. If there is God – the perpetrators of this crime deserve punishment.

  • 0
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    The first reaction by some here, is, connect the writer, if he is a Tamil, to some Tamil terrorist organization, or label them a sympathizer, taking the focus away from the subject of this article.

    Yellow robed terrorists are going around attacking Holy places, Mosques, and other non Buddhist institutions, and now replacing other statues with Buddhists ones. These are ugly facts, and should be dealt with.

    It seems rogue monks are going around taking advantage of their numbers, and causing religious friction within the country. What has the Rajapaksa regime done to curb this, or where is the condemnation we expect from leaders of this country, who seems to be signaling their consent to all this thuggish behavior, by their loud silence? They should be outraged that there is an effort to intimidate the minority religions, and bully them into giving up their religious rights, that are being taken away by thuggery and intimidation.
    Makes one wonder what on earth Gota is talking about, when he boasts about Sri Lanka being a peaceful nation. Give them high marks for their attempts to fool the world.

  • 0
    0

    SOON THESE SAFFRON CLAD THUGS WILL MOVE INTO “NALLUR TEMPLE” IN JAFFNA AND ERECT THE TALLEST STATUE OF LORD BUDDHA OVERLOOKING BUDDHAGAYA IN ORISSA.
    “THERUWAN SARANAI” AND “BUDDHANG SARANANG” IN PLACE OF “AROHARA GOVINDHA” AND “NAMA PARVATI PATHIYE ARAHARA MAHADEVA”

    • 0
      0

      Only then the International community will step in and save Tamils
      by separating the two communities, ressulting in two nations in one state.

  • 0
    0

    panama gana dewiyan image is not taken by the monk.it is panama people took away from the old temple and put it and started worshiping to get much wanted rain for the area.
    this kind of hate statements will increase the gap in between sinhala/muslim/weddha/tamil groups.
    srilanka already bleded but panma always enjoy the peace with in their coexist culture.
    so do,nt fight behalf of panama.still sinhala tamil happly live there.marry each other.worship together.die together.
    goverments navy and wild life are forcefully capturing their lands.monk and people against that.so government work to make the division among them.
    so please find the truth and stand with the panama people for their land rights.

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