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SLN intimidates Tamils to give consent for controversial Buddha statue in Jaffna islet

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 05 April 2016, 15:15 GMT]
Two elected members of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC), who were on a fact finding visit to Naiyinaatheevu last Thursday following repeated requests from the native people of the islet off Jaffna told TamilNet this week that they were shocked to see the move for accelerated Sinhalicisation and Buddhicisation being undertaken by the occupying Sinhala Navy and Ven Navadagala Paduma Kiththi Tissa Thero, the chief monk of ‘Nagadeepa Rajamaha Vihara’. The native people are afraid to voice against the cultural and demographic genocide taking place. The SL Navy has been exerting pressure on them to ‘admit’ that they were ‘welcoming’ the plans for erecting a controversial 61-feet Buddha statue along the seashore. The move is a clear exclusivist Sinhala-Buddhist engineering, says NPC Councillor Vinthan Kanagaratnam.



The site of controversial Buddha statue
NPC Councillors inspecting the seashore where the controversial Buddha statue is to be built
NPC councillors Balachandran Gajatheepan and Vinthan Kanagaratnam are planning to take up the matter at the forthcoming sittings of the NPC on Thursday.

There were 2,650 Tamil families registered as natives of the island. But, only 980 Tamil families are living in the island at the moment. Among them 60 Christian families and 25 Muslim families. Facing the cultural and structural threats, many of the residents are considering to relocate themselves away from the island, which is a dangerous trend, the NPC councillors said.

All the Tamil-speaking people in the island are opposed to the project, Mr Kanagratnam told TamilNet. They feel that the dominating presence of the planned 61-feet Buddha statue will be a symbol threatening the Eezham Tamils in their own homeland.

The people are not opposed to peaceful co-existence of all religious sites. There are already Saiva, Islamic and Buddhist shrines at the island. But, the people are highly opposed to the imposed dominance coming with the claim of Sinhala Buddhist island suppressing the native sentiments, Mr Kanagaratnam said.

Construction site
The location of the basement. Colombo's ministers, SL Colonial Governor in North and the SL Navy have been exerting pressure on local population to give their ‘goodwill, consent and cooperation’ to the controversial project.
Construction site
The occupying Sinhala navy has started to consolidate the basement without securing proper permission from the local and provincial authorities


Sri Lanka Navy, Buddhist monk, the SL Colonial Governor to North are not the ones who should be involved in ‘documenting’ consent from the native people in the island to construct the Vihara. The move is experienced as an intimidating interview by the people. The villagers of Nayinaa-theevu, have urged the Northern Provincial Council to interfere in the mater, Mr Kanagaratnam further said.

Except the SL military and the visiting tourists all the residents are Tamil-speaking people.

SL Minister for Justice and Buddha Sasana Mr Wijedasa Rajapakshe, who was visiting the peninsula in November 2015, was encouraging Ven Navadagala Paduma Kiththi Tissa Thero to expand further the Buddhist vihara constructions in the island.

Reginald Cooray, the newly appointed colonial governor to North, has also gone on record stating that his administration wants to allocate 120 million rupees for the construction of the controversial Buddha statue.

The Buddhist monk refuses to pay taxes to Divisional Council while making money through operating modern boat services to the islet. He charges from the visitors from South while saying the local villagers could travel free without tickets. But, in reality, the native people are reluctant to take the boat service operated by the hostile Sinhala Buddhist Establishment. The monk charges 50 rupee from the tourists. Around 3,000 - 4,000 tourists visit the island every day.

The private boat owners operating boat services for the transportation of native villagers have to pay 20 rupee per ticket to Divisional Council.

Recently, when there was a peninsula-wide protest against the rape and brutal murder of a Tamil girl in Vavuniyaa, the private boat operators were questioned and intimidated by the so-called Public Relations Officer of the occupying Sinhala Navy.

The Colombo regime, in a recent Gazette notification relating to the delimitation of wards 08 and 12 of Veala'nai Divisional Council, had deployed a Sinhala term in Tamil as "Nagadeepam" ("Nagadeepa" in Sinhala) to denote the residential wards under three GS divisions in the islet.

The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) has officially requested the SL Minister of Provincial Councils & Local Government to use the historical Tamil name of Nayinaa-theevu (Nainathivu) islet in the official records.

The island is located south west of Ooraath-thu'rai (Kayts) harbour.


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