SLA permits visit to temple in Palaly
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 09 July 2002, 02:49 GMT]
The Sri Lanka army Monday permitted devotees to visit and clean the premises of the Sri Rajarajeswari Amman temple near the Palaly military airport. The temple is among more than hundred places of worship occupied by the SLA in Jaffna's Waligamam North division. More than 2000 residents who lived in the temple's neighbourhood were evacuated by the SLA in 1987 and 1990 for expanding the defence perimeter of the Palaly military base and airport.
| Mr. Maheswaran and a group of devotees at the Sri Rajarajeswari Amman temple neat the Sri Lankan military's Palaly airport Monday. (Photo:TamilNet) |
The visit to the Sri Rajarajeswari Amman temple was arranged by Sri Lanka's Minister for Hindu Affairs, Mr. T. Maheswaran. More than hundred and fifty devotees and the temple's priest were escorted by the SLA from Punnalaikadduwan to Kaliamman Street near the Palaly military airport Monday.
The temple premises were overgrown with shrub and creepers, the minister told Tamilnet. He said that some images were broken.
Mr. Maheswaran said that he explored the possibility of settling the priest's family in the temple's premises. The SLA may consider allowing about ten families to resettle in the immediate environs of the temple initially, according to him.
Colombo agreed to vacate temples occupied by the Sri Lankan security forces within 30 days of signing a cease-fire agreement with the Liberation Tigers in February this year. Tamil politicians, however, say Colombo is still dragging its feet on fully implementing this clause of the ceasefire agreement.