People fearing military repercussion, afraid to remove abandoned Buddha structures

[TamilNet, Monday, 04 September 2017, 21:21 GMT]
The occupying Sinhala military, which was stationed in the village of Mu'raa-oadai, 5 km south of Vaazhaichcheanai town in Koa'ra'laip-pattu division of Batticaloa distrit, vacated its military base in 2014. When the military was stationed there, it had put up a Buddha statue worshipped by the Sinhala soldiers. The SL military had also planted a Bo tree. Almost 4 years have elapsed, but the owner of the land is still unable to remove the concrete structure, which was used to house the Buddha statue. In the meantime, Buddhist extremist monk based in Batticaloa city, Ampitiye Sumanarathna thero, has been scheming a plan to erect a Buddhist temple there. The move was halted after a complaint was lodged with the Divisional Secretary.

Mu'raa-oadai
Mu'raa-oadai
Every abandoned structure of military-planted Buddha statue has its distinct story. Both the government officials and private land-owners are afraid of removing the structure in fear of reprisal from the SL military.

The extremist monk was targeting to make another entry through backing a section of the poverty-stricken Tamils who were having a land dispute with their Muslim neighbours at Mura'aavoadai a few weeks ago in August.

The occupying ‘Sri Lanka’ Army was having a military camp at Chanthi-ve'li-eattam, situated in Koa'ra'laip-pattu South division. The people at the locality say they are afraid of removing the structure as the SL military would come after them.

Chanthive'li-eattam
Chanthive'li-eattam


Aaraip-pattai
Aaraip-pattai
Special Task Force (STF) commandos were stationed at a state-owned weaving factory in Aaraippattai (Aaraiyampathi), six kilometres south of Batticaloa city. Even after the STF has vacated the building, fear prevails among the Tamil officials in Ma'nmunaip-pattu. Instead of removing the structure, they have put up a piece of Lord Ganesha (Pi'l'laiyaar) in the structure which was used for the Buddha statue.

There are several other abandoned structures similar to the one in Mu'raa-voadai across the 10 Tamil-dominated divisions in the district.

Although the SL Constitution attempts to project all religions as having equal status, the constitutional provision of ‘foremost place’ and various other arrangements such as the SL police having a special division to protect the Buddhism under the guidance of SL Ministry of Buddha Sasana, have made it a crime if anyone attempts to peacefully dismantle even a Buddha statue in the occupied country of Eezham Tamils

Article 9 (chapter II) of the current Sri Lankan constitution promulgated in 1978 says "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.."

Eezham Tamils say that this Article constitutes a particular obstacle in negotiating any degree of regional autonomy with the genocidal State of Sri Lanka because it is an 'entrenched' section of the constitution. Article 9 can be amended or repealed only with the support of two thirds of all the members of the SL Parliament and only if such amendment or repeal is thereafter approved by the people in an island-wide referendum. 

The proposals for new constitution are also not going to change this reality and federalism is not possible under the genocidal configuration of the Sri Lankan system. The fundamental genocidal character will continue to exist despite cosmetic reforms.


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