Landowners reluctant to dismantle military-vacated Buddha statues due to SL constitutional clause

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 22:29 GMT]
The occupying Sri Lanka Army was stationed at Mailampaa-ve'li village, which is situated 8 km north of Batticaloa city along Batticaloa - Vaazhaichcheanai highway (A4). The SL military vacated from the private lands three years ago. After that, the occupying Sinhala police has put up a post at the locality and the landowner is still reluctant of removing a Buddha statue which was left behind by the Sinhala military.The SLA was occupying the said lands at Mailampaa-ve'li lands for 25 years. SL Police doesn't seem to use the small temple, which is found in the abandoned state. However, the ‘foremost place to Buddhism’ clause in the SL constitution would be used against the landowner if the structure is removed.

A landowner from another locality in Batticaloa told TamilNet that he was adviced by the SL police not to remove the Buddha statue and the Bo tree planed by the SL military.

Buddha statue at Mayilampaa-ve'li
Buddha statue left behind by SL military at private lands in Mayilampaa-ve'li in Batticaloa


Without establishing a political right that protects the landowners, they are reluctant to remove such structures, political observers in Batticaloa said.

In the meantime, extremist Sinhala monk based in Batticaloa has been trying to revive the Buddha structures left behind by the SL military, they said.

Although the SL Constitution attempts to project all religions as having equal status, the constitutional provision of ‘foremost place’ and various other arrangements such as the SL police having a special division to protect the Buddhism under the guidance of SL Ministry of Buddha Sasana, have made it a crime if anyone attempts to peacefully dismantle even a Buddha statue in the occupied country of Eezham Tamils

Article 9 (chapter II) of the current Sri Lankan constitution promulgated in 1978 says "The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana.."

Eezham Tamils say that this Article constitutes a particular obstacle in negotiating any degree of regional autonomy with the genocidal State of Sri Lanka because it is an 'entrenched' section of the constitution. Article 9 can be amended or repealed only with the support of two thirds of all the members of the SL Parliament and only if such amendment or repeal is thereafter approved by the people in an island-wide referendum.

The proposals for new constitution are also not going to change this reality and federalism is not possible under the genocidal configuration of the Sri Lankan system. The fundamental genocidal character will continue to exist despite cosmetic reforms.

Buddha statue at Mayilampaa-ve'li


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