Hindu Conference condemns Sri Lankan forces

[TamilNet, Monday, 29 June 1998, 23:59 GMT]
An International conference on Hinduism has condemned attacks on Hindus and the destruction of Hindu places of worship by Sri Lankan security forces and urged the Sri Lankan government to halt such attacks. The 'First International Conference on Hindu Solidarity' held in Paris on 27 and 28 June at the UNESCO auditorium and attended by delegates from several countries.

In a press release issued on Sunday the conference said it had resolved to 'unequivocally condemn the attacks perpetrated by the Sri Lankan security forces on Hindus and Hindu temples".

The conference also resolved to "work together to reinforce the cultural and religious way of living of Hindus in different parts of the world", and "to urge UNESCO to protect all ancient Hindu temples and holy places throughout the world".

Statistical details of damages caused to Hindu temples in Sri Lanka by the armed forces were discussed. According to official Sri Lankan figures, by 1992, 1700 Hindu temples had been destroyed or badly damaged in the island's troubles.

The conference said it would urge UNESCO to declare the five "Easwarams" (Thiruketheswaram, Thirukoneswaram, Muneeswaram, Naguleswaram - the fifth, Easwaram, has already been destroyed) in Sri Lanka as Holy sites, along with the Hindu temple in Afghanistan.

The conference also resolved to "insist on the creation of the right environment for the return of displaced Hindus in Kashmir".

A committee of five was elected to monitor the implementation of the resolutions said the press release.

The conference was opened on Saturday morning by the Nepalese Ambassador to France. The Indian Ambassador to France, sent his felicitations and the Indian Embassy was represented by its First Secretary.

The conference was attended by international academics and other delegates from South Africa, Mauritius, Malaysia, India, Canada, Australia, USA, Britain, France and Germany said the press release. Officials from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Vishwa Hindu Parisad also attended.

Speakers urged the Indian government and the International community to "take stern action" against the perpetrators of atrocities against Hindus in Sri Lanka.

Some speakers urged participants to forget the various differences that existed amongst them and to unite and act in concert where Hinduism was being threatened.

The Sri Lankan security forces are 99% ethnic Sinhalese, who are mostly Buddhist, with a small number of Catholics. The island's ethnic Tamils are predominantly Hindu, but there is also a large Tamil-speaking Muslim community, as well as a smaller Catholic one. The Sri Lankan government is dominated by Sinhalese.

 

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