SL military in Jaffna hurriedly constructs Buddhist vihara in ‘HSZ’ lands in KKS

[TamilNet, Monday, 01 July 2019, 23:33 GMT]
The occupying military of genocidal Sri Lanka is silently and hurriedly erecting a Buddhist vihara at Thaiyiddi in Kaangkeasan-thu'rai (KKS) in Jaffna. The construction is taking place inside the military-held former High-Security Zone area which has not been released back to the people. Tamil civic member Shageevan Shanmugalingam from Valikaamam North (Thellip-pazhai) Divisional Council told TamilNet on Monday that he was turned back by the SL military when he went there to see the construction. In the meantime, journalists have managed to photograph the structure from a distance, exposing the project. New Delhi talking about the ‘development’ of the KKS port and upgrading the Palaali airport without ensuring de-militarisation, is paving the way for socio-economic and cultural Sinhalicisation of the coastal stretch of Eezham Tamils in Valikaamam North, Tamil activists in Jaffna said.

The Vihara is being put up in the lands located next to the place where former SL Governor Reginald Cooray laid the foundation stone for Tissa Vihara in August 2018.

Tissa vihara construction
Tissa Vihara construction in June 2019

Tissa vihara construction
The entrance to Tissa vihara construction site
The occupying SL military had installed a Buddhist temple in the lands that belong to private Tamil land owners at the junction of Punaalai -Point Pedro Road where Kalaivaa'ni Road branches off towards Thaiyiddi. The construction has taken place when the area was the HSZ.

A section of these lands were handed back to the people in November 2016. The SL military was not aware of the claim of Tissa Vihara at that time.

The reconstruction of ‘Tissa Vihāra’ (තිස්ස විහාර) has become an issue since 2017. The land in question is located along Kalai-vaa'ni Road almost 2 km from the above mentioned junction on Ponnaalai Road.

The SL military is putting up the Vihara with a plan to annex it with the already released land where a small Buddhist temple (which is now called as Tissa Vihara) was located before the times of war.

KKS Tissa Vihara
Former SL Governor to North Reginald Cooray laid the foundation stone for Tissa Vihara at Thaiyiddi, KKS, on 22 August 2018

Response from the Divisional Secretariat to RTI based request filed by Councillor Shageevan
Response from the Divisional Secretariat to RTI based request filed by Councillor Shageevan
During the times of British rule, a Sinhala person named Galagama Aratchige Abraham Perera (G.A. Perera) of Udamulle Nugegoda in Colombo made a ‘prior registration’ of 1.25 acre of the land plot which was in his possession at Thaiyiddi village, on 18 December 1946.

The land plot has the traditional Tamil name, U'luththang-kaladdi. After the Sinhala monks started to work there, the place also became known as ‘Sinhala kaladdi’ and as ‘Puththa-koayiladi’.

Two monks in Jaffna at that time, Brahmanawaththe Damma Kiththi Thissa Thero of Nayinaa-theevu and Kalutara Pandithaseela Dharatissa Thero of Kaangkeasan-thu'rai (KKS), were named as the purchasers of the land as well as the trustees of the ‘Tissa temple’.

The ‘prior registration’ declared ‘absolute sale and assignment’ to the purchasers and their successors in office as trustees of the premises.

However, the small establishment ceased to exist over the years.

During the times of war, the District Secretariat in Jaffna had given the lands to 11 landless families. After the end of war, six of these families had managed to resettle back in their properties when the occupying SL military released the area after the war. Four families are still living as refugees in Tamil Nadu, India, Shageevan Shanmugalingam said.

KKS Tissa Vihara
Monks seated at the foundation-stone ceremony held in August 2018

A Sinhala Buddhist monk, Pathakada Wimalagnana Thero (Veerawardhanaramaya, No. 34, Temple Road, Kalutara North), appeared all of a sudden in the latter part of 2017 and started to claim himself as being the trustee of the temple. He wanted to rebuild the Buddhist temple as a Vihara at the extent of 1.25 acres of land. But, now the SL military is trying expand it with more lands, informed sources say.

The Jaffna District Secretariat was under pressure from the then SL Governor to relocate the resettled six families from the lands.

On 22 August 2018, the SL Governor Reginald Cooray, laid the foundation stone for Tissa Viharaya, which was to be rebuilt. The SL Ministry of Buddhasasana would construct the temple, Mr Cooray claimed. He repeatedly referred the place as a ‘historical place’ and branded the reconstruction move as ‘development’ and ‘reconciliation’.

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