Tamil Diplomat

Buddhist shrine under the protection of military in Kurunthur Hill:  Sacred Pooja and rituals  have commenced

Sacred Pooja and rituals for Kurundavashoka Rajamaha Vihara at Kurunthur Hill, Kumulamunai, Mullaithivu, where an ancient Hindu temple (Athi Aiyanar temple) was located, have commenced under the auspices of the Sri Lankan military with their full protection.

For the past four months, the Department of Archaeology has been engaging in activities in the area of Kurunthur Hill in the guise of archaeological research. Tamil people and Tamil journalists were denied permission to visit the place. In this situation, since yesterday, Pirith Chanting and rituals to the newly constructed Buddhist shrine have started abruptly ignoring the COVID 19 health regulations. About 30 Buddhist monks and people from the Sinhala village of Weli Oya are attending the worship services. Tamil people have been denied permission to go there. Hundreds of Sri Lankan army guarded the event and attended worship services.

On January 18, 2021, Vidura Wickramanayaka, Sri Lanka’s State Minister for “National Heritage,” accompanied by Army soldiers and Archaeology Department officers – placed a Buddha statue on the site of an ancient Hindu temple (Athi Aiyanar temple), located at Kurunthoormalai in Mullaithivu District.  A Trident, divine symbol of Hindus, placed in the site of the temple was removed and excavations were to take place. Although Buddhist monks have been trying to occupy the temple area and erect a Buddha statue since 2018, it had not been possible due to strong opposition from local communities.

The court ruled in 2018 that no changes should be made in the area and stated that the Archaeology Department had abused its power in allowing Buddhist monks to survey the area.  But, in defiance of the court order, the National Heritage Ministry, the Army, and the Archaeology Department placed a statue of Buddha in the area.