Colombo takes control of historic Kanniyaa hot wells in Trincomalee

[TamilNet, Thursday, 07 October 2010, 06:08 GMT]
The Government Agent of Trincomalee Major General (retired) Ranjith de Silva Tuesday stopped the Trincomalee Town and Gravets Pradesya Saba (PS) from maintaining the historic Kanniyaa Hot Wells stating that it belongs to the Department of Archaeology. The Government Agent (GA) also directed his men to remove the name board put up by the Pradesya Saba stating that the ancient King Raava'nan founded the hot wells and constructed the Pi’l’laiyaar temple to conduct the 31st day ritual ('Anthiraddi' rites) to his deceased mother. The Hindus in this region conduct "Anthiraddi" rites in memory of their deceased kith and kin.

The name board at the site was removed Tuesday evening in the presence of the GA, who is a former Sri Lankan military commander.

The GA has told that the name board put by the PS had given 'wrong historical information' to the public.

Major General (retired) Ranjith de Silva has taken this action at the instigation of some Buddhist monks engineered by Buddhist chauvinist elements in Colombo with the backing of Jathika Hela Urumaya.

The former commander GA has also directed the Trincomalee town and Gravets PS to stop collecting money from the public for maintaining the hot wells and the surrounding area as the PS has no legal status except the Department of Archaeology.

Kanniyaa hot wells and the Pi’l’laiyaar Temple earlier came under the administration of Trincomalee Madaththadi Muththumariaamman Temple. Later the Trincomalee Town and Gravets PS took over the maintenance of the hot wells.

Trincomalee Town and Gravets PS administration is in the hands of elected Tamil representatives led by Chairman V. Kantharooban.

In 2002 on the orders of the then Trincomalee GA N. H. K. Nelumdeniya the renovation work of the centuries’ old Kanniya Pi’l’laiyaar temple located in the precincts of historic hot wells about 8 km north of Trincomalee town on the Anuradhapura highway had been suspended on representations made by some Buddhist priests, who claimed that the bricks found at the site belonged to Anuradhapura period.

Nelumdeniya issued the suspension order until the Sri Lankan Department of Archaeology submits its findings as regards the clay brick found at the building site on representations made by two Buddhist monks, one of whom was the Chief Incumbent of the Seruvila Raja Maha Vihare. Since then suspension order is in force.

The Pi’l’laiyaar Temple and Madam had been destroyed by Sinhala thugs during the ethnic violence.

At that time R. Sampanthan, Trincomalee district parliamentarian lodged a strong protest with the then Government Agent and with the Prime Minister’s Secretary and the Peace Secretariat in Colombo that the Hindu community will not tolerate any interference in their legitimate rights which they have had for generations and centuries.

“Efforts are being made to restore these facilities and enable their legitimate use by the Hindu public. This is a legitimate right, which should not be disrupted in any way," Sampanthan had said in his letter.

 

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