By N. Lohathayalan –
Neeraavi Pillaiyar Temple at Chemmalai in Mulaitivu District is a site of controversy as Sinhalese in the area try to take-over a Saivite temple. A Buddhist priest, a Kolampe Methalangathara Thera, who for long tried to make it a Buddhist Temple, had died two days ago of cancer. This priest who put the temple in a controversial position going to court where the case still on going, had lived on temple premises demanding rights over the temple. As a result of his followers now wanting to conduct his last rites on temple premises on 22 Sept., the people of the area have expressed great dissatisfaction and trepidation of the violence that may arise.
Another Buddhist monk is engaged with the assistance of the police in directing the rites on the grounds where he had lived. The temple is about 10 ft by 10ft in size. The rites are to take place a few feet away. The police have informed the Provincial and District Secretaries of these plans. The District Secretary confirmed that the last rites would take place as described here.
Army and navy personnel have been brought into the area in large numbers. Several folk from the South too have been brought into the area on invitation in many buses.
It is pointed out by many Saiva Hindus that they are deeply hurt and wounded by this callous and heartless majoritrianism. Indeed Buddhists and Christians of sound mind too are hurt said a Christian.
Residents fear violence. The temple management have told the police in writing not to allow this because a funeral on temple premises is a violation of Hindu law, both polluting and sacrilegious. The locals plan to protest if the Buddhists go ahead.
It is noted that the Election Commission has warned the Commission staff to be vigilant about attempts to disturb communal harmony along the coast from Mullaitivu to Amparai because such violence can easily spill-over into the presidential elections.