'S.L Security forces still in temples' - Hindu body
[TamilNet, Sunday, 26 May 2002, 14:37 GMT]
The Federation of Hindu Temples in Batticaloa and Amparai said Sunday that the Sri Lankan security forces in the region continue to encompass more than 15 places of worship in the two districts within the defence perimeters of their camps. The trustee boards of fourteen Hindu temples in Batticaloa and Amparai complained to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) Saturday that their precincts and environs are still occupied by Sri Lankan security forces.
"We have been complaining to the authorities about this for a long time. But to this day we have had no indication that the army and Police intend to leave our temples", said Mr. Pakkiyaselvam Ariyaneththiran, the spokesman for the Federation.
|Mr. Pakkiyaselvam Ariyaneththiran, the spokesman for the Federation of Hindu Temple in Batticaloa and Amparai. (Photo: TamilNet)|
The Ceasefire Agreement between the Liberation Tigers and the Sri Lankan government stipulates that places of worship (temples, churches, mosques and other holy sites etc.) currently held by the forces of either of the parties should be vacated and made accessible to the public thirty days after it came into effect. The agreement was signed on 24 February 2002.
"The Sri Lanka army and Police have occupied most of these temples for almost twelve years. The idols and belonging to many these temples were left behind when the Sri Lankan security forces moved into them", said Mr. Sinnathamby Pushpalingam, the secretary to the Federation of Hindu Temples in Batticaloa and Amparai.
According to a memorandum submitted to the SLMM by the Federation Saturday, five temples in the two districts are fully occupied by the Sri Lanka army and the Special Task Force.
1. Sri Devi Temple, Kommathurai (17 kilometres north of Batticaloa), occupied by a National Guard unit of the SLA.
2. Siththivinayagar Temple, Kommathurai -occupied by Sri Lanka Army (SLA)
3. Siththivinayagar Temple, Kurumanveli (29 kilometres southwest of Batticaloa) - occupied by STF
4. Sri Muththumariamman Temple, Kurumanveli - occupied by Speiial Task Force (STF)
5. Kittangi Pillaiyar Temple, Senaikudiyiruppu (48 kilometres southwest of Batticaloa) - occupied by STF and Police.
Nine temples are in the defence perimeters of the Sri Lankan security forces, according to the Federation's memorandum submitted to the SLMM.
They are: 1. Maamangam Pillaiyaar Temple, Amirthakazhi, Batticaloa - occupied by Police.
2. Neelakanda Vinayagar Temple, Araipaththai (8 kilometres south of Batticaloa) - occupied by STF.
3. Muththumariamman Temple, Araipaththai - occupied by STF.
4. Muhamaai Manikkapillaiyar Temple, Kaluwanchikudy (24 kilometres south of Batticaloa) - occupied by Police
5. Kannaki Amman Temple, Kaluwanchikudy - occupied by Police
6. Mahavishnu Temple, Periya Neelavanai, (32 kilometres south of Batticaloa) - occupied by Police and STF
7. Peychchi Amman temple, Periyaneelavanai - occupied by STF and Police
8. Vadapaththirakaliamman Temple, Annamalai, forty kilometres southwest of Batticaloa) - occupied by STF
9. Manmunai Pillaiyar Temple, Manmunai (10 Kilometres south of Batticaloa) - occupied by STF
"Several temples have not been included in this memorandum. The Pillaiyaradi Temple on the Batticaloa town entrance is in the defence perimeter of the STF camp. The Aanaipanthi Pillaiyar Temple, which is in the heart of the town, and the Navatkudah Sri Murugan Temple on the Old Kalmunai road are in the defence perimeters of the Police. Their trustee boards are preparing memoranda to the SLMM," Mr. Ariyanethiran, who is also the Vannakkar (chief official) of the Thanthonreeswaram Shiva Temple in Batticaloa said.