Monks' protest leads to suspension of Temple reconstruction
[TamilNet, Saturday, 11 May 2002, 07:10 GMT]
Reconstruction work of the centuries old Kanniya Pillaiyar temple has been suspended by the Trincomalee Government Agent on representations made by some Buddhist priests, who claim that the bricks found at the site belonged to the Anuradhapura period.
The Trincomalee district parliamentarian Mr.R.Sampanthan has lodged a strong protest with the GA, Trincomalee and with the Prime Minister's Secretary and the Peace Secretariat in Colombo that, "the Hindu public will not tolerate any interference in their legitimate rights which they have had for generations and centuries."
The Trincomalee Government Agent Mr.N.H.K.Nelumdeniya Friday directed that the reconstruction work of the 'Pillaiyar' temple, located in the "Hot Wells" area, be suspended until the Department of Archaeology submits its findings as regards the clay bricks found at the building site.
The Government Agent's directive follows representations made by two Buddhist priests, one of whom is the Chief Incumbent of the Seruvila Raja Maha Vihare.
The Kanniya Pillaiyar temple is situated about 8 km north of Trincomalee town on the Anuradhapura highway, in the precincts of the famous "Hot Wells," which according to Hindu chronicles were created by King Ravana who ruled Sri Lanka. King Ravana found the hot wells and constructed the Pillaiyar temple to conduct the 31st day ceremony ('Anthiraddi' rites) to his deceased mother.
Hence the Hindus in this region conduct "Anthiraddi" rites in memory of their deceased kin.
However, the Pilliayar temple and the adjacent hall ('madam') were destroyed during the recent period of violence. "Efforts are now 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," said Mr.Sampanthan in his letter.
Mr.Sampanthan's letter continues:
"The hot wells at Kanniya-the temple in the precincts of the hot wells and several other buildings there-the 'madam', etc.- have been used by the Hindu public in Trincomalee for their (Anthiraddi) 31st day ceremonies in commemoration of the death of their dear and beloved ones.
"From the time of my childhood I have myself for over the past sixty five years participated in such ceremonies.
"The temple and other buildings were destroyed during the recent periods of violence and were in a state of disuse.
"I am informed that some representations have been made to you by some mischievous elements, who think that the Hindu public can be denied a right which they have enjoyed for generations and centuries.
"The reconstruction of the Hindu temple has commenced and I myself participated in the foundation stone laying ceremony. The construction work will continue and should not be interrupted on the basis of some frivolous and mischievous representations.
"I am writing to you to ensure that no one is able to use your office to obstruct a perfectly lawful and legitimate activity."