Road closure by SLA halts temple festival in Kalkudah

[TamilNet, Saturday, 14 June 2003, 11:37 GMT]
Trustees of Munai Murugan temple in Kalkudah, 35km North of Batticaloa town, said Saturday that devotees have no access to the temple and that the popular annual temple festivals cannot be held due to the closure of the main road leading to the temple by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA).

The Munai Murugan Temple, which faces east towards the calm waters of the Indian Ocean, is located in a rock landmass protruding into the sea. Tall shady trees surround the temple which was built in 1980. Visitors from several parts of the island flock to the temple during annual temple festivals held during the summer months.

Munai Murugan Temple

A large SLA camp housing segments of the 23-2 brigade is located in the Kalkudah junction. The camp built in 1990 and underwent expansion recently includes within its perimeter Kalkudah Junction Pillaiyar Temple, Rest House belonging to the Tourist Board, a Church, Kalkudah Post Office, Office of the Grama Sevaka, Kannakai Amman Temple and 35 residential houses belonging to Tamil civilians, residents in Kalkudah said.

The main Batticaloa-Valaichenai road passes through the Kalkudah junction. Direct bus services between Batticaloa and Valaichennai through Kalkudah have been suspended following the building of SLA camp.

Munai Murugan Temple

Roads leading to PasiKudah, a popular tourist resort and to the Munai Murugan Temple fork off from the Kalkudah Junction, and have been closed for public. Visitors to Pasikudah use a temporary gravel bypass road with great difficulty. There are no access roads to the Munai Murugan temple. Serious devotees use the bypass road to Kalkudah and illegal footpaths through private properties to reach the temple.

Munai Murugan Temple
Foot paths through private property leading to the Munai Murugan temple

Trustees told TamilNet that the last three years they could not hold any festivals. Also much needed renovation is being held up as they are unable to take building material to the temple.

SLA 23-2 commanders have been consistently denying trustees request to open the road that leads to the temple.

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of Sri Lanka (GosL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has made little difference to the SLA's determination to keep the road closed, trustees complained.

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