3RD LEAD (Update, Adds video, photos)

Sinhala police, mob intimidate Saiva Tamil pilgrims at Kanniyaa

[TamilNet, Friday, 13 September 2019, 20:04 GMT]
Tens of uniformed Sinhala police officers along with persons dressed in civilian clothing stormed at a group of Tamil Saiva pilgrims who were chanting prayers at Kanniyaa Hot Wells around 7:00 a.m. on Friday. The Sinhala policemen behaved aggressively against the devotees instructing them to remove their vehicle away from the promises, said the organiser of the pilgrimage, 41-year-old V. Mohanathas. The devotees were not allowed to conduct their Bajan worship at the Pi'l'laiyaar temple grounds. Half of them were disturbed from their bathing ritual at the Hot Wells. Even though the Tamil pilgrims explained the reason for their presence, the Sinhala group behaved aggressively, Mr Mohanadas said.

Nalloor - Kokkaddichchoalai pilgrim

IITS flyer
“We conduct the pilgrim praying for the peaceful co-existence of peoples of the different ethnic and religious communities on this island. However, at Kanniyaa, they behaved the opposite way to how the Sinhala people elsewhere were welcoming us. The episode at Kanniyaa today has left a scar in our hearts,” Mohanathas said.

The group of forty-three devotees, consisting of families with children, were on their annual pilgrimage from Nalloor in Jaffna to Kokkaddich-choalai in Batticaloa calling at thirty-six Saiva temples on their way during their 4-days long pilgrimage.

This year is the fourth consecutive time the same group conducting the pilgrimage. In 2016, during their first-year pilgrimage, the pilgrims were confronted by an angry mob at Adam's Peak (Chivan-o'li-paatha-malai). The crowd was hostile to the Nanthi flags carried by the Saivite devotees.

“However, here in Kanniyaa, there were police officers, who are expected to possess more than enough knowledge to know what we were doing there. Even after we calmly explaining the nature of our pilgrimage, we were chased out,” Mohanathas explained.

The SL police and the persons who were not in the uniform were taking video and photographs and someone of them went to the extent of stealing the vehicle key after the vehicle was moved out of the premises into a parking place. The Sinhala police officers were filing cases against the devotees on the spot. The police filed an additional case saying that the decorated lead vehicle was not having the front side number plate.

Every year, the pilgrims use to carry with them the Linga statue from Mirusuvil Paththirakaa'li Amman temple in Thenmaraadchi, Jaffna.

The pilgrim is organised by “Ilangkai Inthu Samaya Tho'ndar Chapai” (Ilangkai Hindu Devotees’ Council) and Ilangkai First Aid Union based in Kodikaamam according to the guidance of the Chinmaya Mission in Jaffna.

Nalloor - Kokkaddichchoalai pilgrim
IITS flyer
Nalloor - Kokkaddichchoalai pilgrim
The “Saami vehicle” photographed at Nalloor temple in Jaffna
Nalloor - Kokkaddichchoalai pilgrim
Nalloor - Kokkaddichchoalai pilgrim
Nalloor - Kokkaddichchoalai pilgrim



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