By Ayathuray Rajasingam –
Hindu temples were symbols of the cultural richness that was proudly revered by the Hindu Tamils of the North-Eastern Province. They were considered a national tradition for the Hindu Tamils. But due to the tyranny of Buddhist fundamentalism promoted by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the sacred Hindu sites are gradually being razed to the ground on the pretext of excavation by the Archeological Department.
Since the defeat of the LTTE the Rajapaka’s government showed interest in destroying the Tamils and their cultures for which some Muslim politicians like Hisbullah and Rishad Bathiudeen had joined in the fray. They never showed any mercy towards the helpless Tamils who were confined within the barbed wire fence. Even Emperor Asoka after listening to the preaching of a Buddhist monk changed his heart and began to look after the helpless people of Kalinga. But Rajapaksas and the military forces, in contrast, looted the wealth of the helpless Tamils and while on the other hand Muslim politicians threatened some Tamils and bought lands at much less than the market value.
Constructing a Dhamma School (Buddhist religious school) inside the premises of Badrakali Amman Temple in Trincomalee by the Sri Lanka Military Forces where Sinhalese are not found, has been a continuing story of the Rajapaksa’s regime. The construction was undertaken by the Gajaba Regiment troops while the ‘233 Brigade will supervise the project until its completion according to Sri Lanka Army’s Official website. What a wastage of money when it has not benefited the Sinhalese instead of settling the displaced Tamils in their area.
Recently Gotabaya Rajapaksa had discovered a new technique to utilize the Archeological Department to find evidence of ancient Sinhala-Buddhist settlements in some Hindu holy sites in the Northern & Eastern Province. The Archeological Department also threatened the existence of Hindu temples through some Buddhist monks along with the Military Forces when Buddhism was introduced in Sri Lanka in the 7th century while Hinduism was in existence for more than 3,000 years. The hypocrisy and the lack of knowledge in history of Rajapaksas had been exposed.
Even the former President Maithripala Sirisena was no exception when he gave the green light to the Archeological Department to construct a Stupa despite the resistance of Hindus when there was a dispute between the Hindus and Buddhists over a bid by the Archeological Department to excavate and erect a Buddhist Stupa at the site of a Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha near the Hot Springs in Kinniya in Trincomalee District. Even the Police had no say when the Sinhalese splashed hot tea on the Saivaite leader Agathiya Akathiyar and the proprietor of Kinniya Temple Ms.Kokila Ramani during the mediation. Mention should be made that though an injunction stated that nobody should be allowed to enter hot wells premises, only Tamils were not allowed to enter while the Sinhalese were allowed to enter with police protection. It was a sad state of affair that even the President appeared to have disgraced the Court having known that Hot Springs and the Ganesha Temple were of utmost religious importance for the existence of Tamils in the North & East Provinces. It is also worth mentioning that though the Trincomalee District Secretary had ordered to stop constructing the Buddhist Stupa, construction work continued while the foundations of Ganesha Temple being destroyed despite the condemnation by the Association of Hindu Priests in Mutur. These incidents sent the message that Government was with the evil communal frame of mind with poor governance for a stubborn push for siege of Hindu Temples, thus denying justice for the Hindu Tamils. It appears that such construction of Buddhist temples as an extension of Sinhalese-Buddhist hegemony in the North-East Province.
Moreover, there are other temples namely Kankuveli Agathiyar Siva Temple, Kiliveddy Thirumangala Sivan Temple, Kallady Neeli Amman Temple, Koonitheevu Maththalamalai Kunrathu Kumaran Temple in Mutur also met the same fate.
Such incidents had demonstrated that the Government led by Rajapaksas and Maithripala Srisena were keen to destroy the Tamil habitations and the Hindu temples situated therein. The most surprising fact was that Buddhist monks who chants ‘Buddham Saranam Gachchami Dhammam Saranam Gachchami’ (meaning ‘I take refuge in the Buddha. I take refuge in the Dharma’) had engaged themselves in these evil unrighteous acts contrary to the Buddhist teachings. Merely carrying the pinnacles is insufficient without knowing the real meaning of Dhamma. Rajapaksas and Maithiripala Sirisena were behind the scenes in agitating the Buddhist monks for the creation animosity and hatred among religious and ethnic communities.
One ponders whether there is any guarantee that such Viharas constructed in the Hindu holy sites will be converted as a hotel for illegal purposes. There is a recently reported news item under the title ‘Sex inside the temple! Chinese women stay: Sensational information’ and that a Buddhist Vihara is utilized for sex. An organization called ‘Dukka Handunana Abi’ has alleged that a sex hotel called ‘Vihara’ is being run in Pothuhera, Arambepola area in Kurunegala district, despite strong opposition from the locals and the Buddhist clergy. Nilantha Ranasinghe, the leader of the organization, said that the building was registered as a hotel even though the temple was operating in the area. Member of Parliament Athuraliye Ratana Thera has sold the site of the temple. The hotel operates inside the temple. Chinese women stay at this hotel, also known as the Chinese Temple. The locals, having known what is going on in the temple, expressed strong opposition, but it is sad that though complaints have been lodged in this regard, no action has been taken due to the intervention of police officers and politicians. The hotel is a sex industry center run by government officials, members of parliament and the police. The monk in this temple is a monk who, after removing the saffron, got married. However, he went to China on a passport with the name of a monk and was ordained as a Mahayana monk. This monk has been handling various activities including banking under nine names. Many of the monks who appear and speak on television visit this hotel. The son of a Buddhist monk is allegedly to have offered women to Buddhist monks. They bring women to the temple and engage in sex work. Chinese women are being involved in fitness work there. Many politicians in Sri Lanka are coming there. People are wondering how Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ‘One Country One Law’ will operate on such matters.
Meanwhile some Hindu temples in the Eastern Province were destroyed and former Minister Hisbullah was instrumental for one Amman temple that had been acquired through local Council and was demolished and a Fish Market was constructed in its place. Instead of intervening in the incident as President of the entire people of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa maintained silence over this incident. Besides many Hindu temples were subjected to attacks by unknown mischievous persons who joined overnight.
To date the Sinhala political leaders and Muslim extremist politicians have not disclosed the loss they would incur in destroying the Hindu temples. There can be no reason other than that it is a frenzied act.
Merely going on pilgrimage to Thiruppathy is insufficient. Mahinda Rajapaksa may satisfy the people that he is not against the Hindus. But who knows what other plans Lord Thiruppathu has in his mind. Likewise, Maithiripala Sirisena can raise his both hands and worship at Nallur temple. Rajapaksas and Maithiripala Sirisena can cheat the Tamils and the international community with their calculated and systematic acts. But there is a limit where the Almighty may make a final and conclusive decision. Both Rajapaksas and Maithiripala Sirisena should be aware that Hinduism is best known for the virtue of self-restraint. In the Mahabharata, when no one was able to save the dignity of Draupati, Krishna stands with her. Bharat has so much to learn from the Mahabharata, most of all, that when dharma is fading, a new emanation of righteousness surges up. Raj Dharma matters in times when anarchy looms large and the rulers forget why they are there. This is what will happen to both Rajapaksas, Maithiripala Sirisena and other evil-minded politicians when they attempt to destroy a helpless ethnic community and their places of worship. In the circumstances it is of serious concern that people living in Sri Lanka are not treated as equals irrespective of language, ethnic or religious differences when observing the violations of the provisions of Sri Lanka Constitution (which is the Supreme Law of Sri Lanka) by depriving due protect of law to the helpless Hindu Tamils and to the holy Hindu sites thereof. It is sad that democracy is crushed by the tyranny of the Rajapaksas and Maithiripala Sirisena.
Apart than this, there was an incident where a Sinhala female officer in her shoes went with some soldiers inside a Hindu temple in Kilinochchi while the Hindu Sivachcharya was engaged in a special religious rite was also seen as an unhealthy sign. She should have known the difference between a God-centered religion and a prophet-centered religion, before abusing her authority.
Meanwhile, an Amman Hindu temple in the Eastern Province was taken over by some Muslim politicians through a local council and later demolished, and a fish market was set up there, thus challenging the Hindus. President Mahinda Rajapaksa maintained silence and took no steps to prevent such a notorious event. Mention should be made that Minister Hisbullah threatened several Tamils and converted them to Islam and also bought some 800 acres of land in Mannar area almost close to the India the purpose of which is known to him at a time he both Muslim Ministers had secret links with Islamic terrorists. It is questionable whether this will have any impact on famous Thiruketheeswaram temple.
One ponders whether the Sinhalese and Muslims consider the Hindu temples as a sign of Lanka being some part of India or India alone.
What is surprising is that the Sinhala political leaders have forgot that Ravana had not known Sinhala language other than Sanskrit and Tamil but praises him as their descendant. It is a question mark whether they would have destroyed the Shiva temples in the North-Eastern Provinces had they known that Ravana was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva.
The President often appears as issuing special orders to the Armed Forces throughout Sri Lanka for his own protection but fails to consider the type of development he intends to implement in the country’s key economic sector and how he is going to deal with the disorders caused by Buddhist monks in the country, shows his inability to establish his good governance.
Therefore, considering that the 13th Amendment is not necessary for implementation, Sinhala political leaders are seeking to demonstrate to the international community the presence of Sinhala Buddhists in areas where Tamil populations are concentrated. Even the fourth draft constitution aims to persuade India to rescind the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord. It is regretted that Sinhala political leaders have conveniently avoided the most essential factor of ‘confidence-building measure’ and are engaged in a stubborn push for the siege of Hindu temples in North-East Sri Lanka with the aim of deceiving India and the international community.