June 12, 2022
Tamils and local politicians thwarted an attempt by Sinhalese Buddhist monks and the Sri Lankan army to install a Buddha statue on the site of a Tamil temple.
Sinhalese Buddhist monks and the Sri Lankan military had planned a Buddhist dedication ceremony to enshrine a Buddha statue at the site of an indigenous Tamil temple despite an order from the Mullaitivu Magistrate’s Court ruling that no alterations could be brought to the site.
However, Sinhalese Buddhist monks, aided by the state archeology department, continued their attempts to seize the ancient Tamil temple site at Mullaitivu. The archeology department used the appearance of “digging” work to help Sinhalese Buddhist monks erect a Buddhist shrine.
The Director General of the Department of Archeology, Anura Manathunga, visited the area and told protesters that he was “carrying out reconstruction work to preserve the fossils found in the Kurunthurmalai area and there are no hadn’t built new buildings,” while rejecting claims that his department was working with monks and the military.
Three members of the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) were arrested during the protest and held in a police vehicle throughout the protest.
The Tamil homeland has been subjected to decades of Sinhaleseization, but since the end of the armed conflict there has been an increase in the establishment of Buddhist temples and Sinhalese settlements through the appropriation of Tamil land. The government used its departments such as the Departments of Archeology and Surveying to alter the demographics of the North East.