Military readies for Sri Lanka’s Independence Day in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 03 February 2004, 12:19 GMT]
Sri Lankan armed forces flew lion flags on sentries, bunkers and at army camps in Jaffna Tuesday in preparation for Sri Lanka’s Independence Day. The military urged fishermen in the peninsula’s Vadamaradchi coast not to fly black flags on their boats, homes and union offices on Wednesday. The Sri Lanka army gave lion flags to fishermen and government officials in Jaffna. The sword bearing lion on Sri Lanka’s national flag is considered the eponymous ancestor of the island’s Sinhala Buddhists.

Sri Lankan flag Sri Lanka observes its Independence Day on 4 February.

Fishermen’s societies and other civil society organisations in Jaffna say they intend to observe 4 February as a black day.

The Sri Lanka army’s 52-4 Brigade in Pt. Pedro Tuesday morning called fishermen’s societies of Vadamaradchi North for a meeting to discuss Independence Day arrangements tomorrow.

SLA officers urged fishermen not to boycott Independence Day celebrations that the military has planned for Wednesday. They also asked fishermen not to keep away from their work.

Heavy security was reported in many parts of Jaffna as the military prepares to observe Sri Lanka’s Independence Day on Wednesday.

Tamil politicians of all hues avoid or actively boycott the hoisting of the Lion flag on Sri Lanka’s Independence Day and other special occasions.

Sinhala Buddhists believe that their nation is descended from a union between a North Indian princess and a lion that had carried her away to his lair in the forest. The princess had a son and a daughter by the lion. The son was called Sinhabahu and the daughter Sinhasivali.

Sinhabahu killed his father, the lion, when he grew up. Then he married his sister Sinhasivali and begat a son called Vijaya. According to Sinhala Buddhist legends upheld by modern Sinhala historians, Viajaya was banished by his father from his kingdom for being a miscreant.

He and his accomplices came to Sri Lanka, married Tamil princesses from the South Indian Pandya Kingdom and found the Sinhala race, according to Sinhala Buddhist legend.


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