Buddhist monk accused of flogging a Vedda

[TamilNet, Friday, 18 December 2009, 19:08 GMT]
A Vedda aborigine of the island of Sri Lanka was allegedly flogged severely by a Sinhala Buddhist monk during a recent temple festival in Mahiyangane and the police refused to register a complaint, says Asian Human Rights Commission on Friday, requesting international public to intervene by sending urgent appeal to relevant authorities in Sri Lanka.

Mr. Thennakoon Mudiyanselage Wijerantne, 43-years-old Vedda aborigine of the island, was running an ice cream stall during the Saman Devale festival at Mahiyangane, Moneragala District, during August this year.

While taking bath in the river of that place at noon, he reportedly found a discarded piece of wire in the sand and took it for his own use. A village official found him in the crowd accused him of stealing the wire and took him to the police out post. The officers in the out post brought in the Buddhist incumbent of the temple.

The monk made him to sit on the floor and flogged him severely with that wire in front of a crowd for about five minutes, accusing and shouting throughout. The monk did not stop even when the public pleaded and the police did not intervene. His junior monk kicked Mr Wijeratne to the ground.

Mr Wijeratne was later taken to the Mahiyangane police station where he was kept in custody without food that day. His complaint of physical assault was not taken. He was bailed out after three days but even the magistrate did not note down the physical assault. The prison guards gave him some ointment to apply to his injuries.

On 10th December he was urinating blood and was admitted in Mahiyangane hospital. X-rays showed internal contusions. He again went to Mahiyangane police with his complaint, along with witnesses. The police after consultation with the monk refused to take the complaint on grounds that the monk had denied the charges.

Mr Wijeratne is a nephew of the present Vedda chief.

Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka not only enjoy political power at highest levels but also wield unwritten police and civil powers in ‘frontier’ areas. For a very long time now the Vedda territory was subjected to Sinhala-Buddhist colonisation and the rule of the monks.

After the war Mahinda Rajapaksa announced handing over new ‘Buddhist sites’ to monk-incumbents in the North and East too.


External Links:
AHRC: Urgent Appeal: AHRC-UAC-176-2009

 

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