In Chemmalai in the Mullaitivu Distrct, after the army took over the lands, the Buddhist Priest at the army camp removed the Paillaiyar Temple there in 2009–2013, and attempted to construct a Buddhist Temple in its place. An Arasa Maram (Bodhi Tree) was planted with a small foot or so high Buddha Statue. The Tamil people there raised objections. The attempt was given up.
During 2015-2016 the same Monk erected a small temple-like building, like a shrine. The Pradeshya Sabha filed action objecting that its permission had not been given. Powerful Sinhalese lawyers appeared for the Monk and the Magistrate declared that he had no authority to hear the case which he said ought to be taken up by the District Court. The case was dismissed and the next day and the Monk planted a small Buddha statue there.
In 2016 the military vacated the lands it was occupying. However, the Monk continued to stay. The Archaeology Department declared the land as under its purview and named Chemmalai an Chettimalai.
As opposition mounted from locals, the Buddha Sasana Ministry asked the District Secretary to describe the area and the issues. The DS said there is no place called Chettimalai and there never had been a Buddhist Temple there. Nonetheless the work erecting the temple was not halted. The Monk removed his statue and replaced it with a large 6-feet tall statue today 17 Nov. 2018. The opening ceremony for the statue is scheduled for tomorrow Sunday 18 Nov.
A UNP man declared that if there are elections, no Sinhalese candidate will be able to count on Tamil votes after this.
Member of Parliament Shanti Sriskantharajah says the fire-hurry is to get the opening done during the cyclonic storm Gaja so that no one will come objecting.
She says that Genocide is now taking the form of religiocide, and that no civilized government can countenance this.
Reporting for Colombo Telegraph by N. Logathayalan from Chemmalai
Editor’s Note: Today, Sunday, after massive protests from the public, the police removed all decorations for the opening at the temple, and forbade its opening for now.