Payilvan dies, sectarian violence flares up in Kattankudy

[TamilNet, Thursday, 07 December 2006, 22:50 GMT]
Sectarian violence between orthodox Muslims against the Islamic sect, Sufi, that preaches pantheism, resurfaced in Muslim town of Kattankudy in Batticaloa district Thursday following the death of M. S. Abdul Payilvan, one of the leaders of Sufi sect and the President of All Island Tharikathul Mufliheen, and his burial in Kattankudy. The orthodox Muslims observed a Hartal demanding the removal of the body from the burial grounds. Three houses belonging to the followers of Payilvan were set ablaze on Thursday night, Police sources said.

M.S. Abdul Payilvan, 69, passed away in Colombo Apollo hospital Wednesday at 8:00 pm; his body was brought to Kattankudy in a private helicopter around 2:00 am Thursday and buried at Tharikathul Mufliheen Mosque burial grounds around 4:00 p.m.

Orthodox Muslims, who claim that Kattankudy soil is sacred where no bodies belonging to persons having contradicting views of the preaching of holy Quran should be buried, demand the body of Payilvan, who is also from Maruthamunai, another Muslim village in Amparai district, to be exhumed and buried elsewhere.

Tension prevailed in the town due to the general shut down and Police in large numbers patrolled the area. Sri Lanka Governement has given Special Police protection to prominent figures of Sufi sector, and the burial ground is guarded by security personnel.

Meanwhile, officials of the Kattankudy Jammiyathul Ulama Council and Federation for Kattankudy Mosques and other Organizations submitted a petition at Batticaloa District Courts Thursday demanding the exhumation of Payilvan's body. The hearing of the case is expected to begin Friday.

In another incident last Sunday (03/12), extremists dug up the buried body of a Sufi follower, who died on the previous day from the Tharikathul Mufliheen Mosque burial grounds, and dumped the body along a local road as an act of protest. Kattankudy Police recovered the body, re-buried the body at the original space in the burial grounds. The area was safeguarded for few days after the incident.

In Kattankudy, the hatred between the two factions has widened in the last few years. Violent clashes between the two factions have grown in intensity and have left many injured, and millions of Rupees worth properties, including houses and vehicles, damaged.

In November unidentified armed men, alleged to be orthodox Muslims, threw hand grenades and opened fire on Abdul Rauf Moulawi, the Islamic religious teacher belonging to Sufi sect and civiliansstanding in front of his office near Kattankudy Bathuriya Mosque.

While Abdul Rauf Mowlavi's critics say that his teachings have borrowed from Hinduism and he is influenced by Muslims of Tamil Nadu origin settled in Kattankudy, the Sufi sect charges that a Wahabi extremist group funded by powerful sources in the Middle East is responsible for harassing Sufi followers.


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