On 26.08.1981, a report appeared in the Tamil daily Suthanthiran as follows. “The Saiva people in the area suspect that a Sinhala Buddhist racist minister and some of his henchmen are planning to build a Buddhist vihara at the place where the Vairava temple of saivas is now located in the Kumuzhamunai Kurundur hill in mullaitivu block and settle around the Sinhala Buddhist people.
Saiva people worship this place with a Vairava Soolam. Now suddenly some government officials have taken away the building materials for the construction of a new building at the site. It was only after the General Manager of the Oddusuttan Tiles Factory, the Secretary of the Buddhist Association of the Paranthan Chemical Corporation, the Secretary of the Buddhist Association of the Paranthan Chemical Corporation, a member of the Ministry of Culture, and Cyril Mathew, who protects the Buddhist ruins in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, recently visited this place and visited the area, that the question arose in everyone’s mind as to whether there was a hidden plan to build a Buddhist temple there.”
– Therefore, it is the remains of the building that the Weerasekeras of those days deliberately brought and destroyed that have been converted into a gigantic Buddhist vihara forty years later. These forty years of struggle have destroyed the ancient inhabitants of the land and their worship. Above all, the unwillingness of the local people, the ethical and mass protests against it, the statements of condemnation by international organizations, and above all the mullaitivu district magistrate’s court’s ruling that “no new constructions should be made in Kurundoor malai”.
Despite all this, they have paved the way for the establishment of a Buddhist vihara there.
Incidents of bifurcation of law
On 04.07.2023, politicians, youth and political activists representing Mullaitivu informed the media that they are planning to conduct Pongal puja on 14.07.2023 at The Adi Ayyanar Temple in Kurundoormalai.
Galgamuwa Sandabodhi Monk, who has been residing in Kurundur Hills since 11.07.2023, started calling on social media that tamil extremists were planning to attack the Buddhist vihara at Kurundur hills on the 14th and that the Sinhala people should come together to stop it and protect the Buddhist heritage.
On the night of 12.07.2023, leaflets were pasted by unidentified persons in several areas, including Mullaitivu Town, stating that the organisers of the Kurundoormalai Adi Ayyanar Pongal event were disturbing the Hindu and Buddhist harmony and were taking money from abroad and indulging in terrorist activities.
The Buddhist monk, who had settled there through the above activities, was waiting for the Sinhalese people, the army and the police settled in manalar area to take part in a rally against the Pongal celebrations of the Tamils, which was scheduled to be held on the 14th.
The monk, who had speculated that Tamils might come to worship Pongal with the court’s permission, had earlier resorted to communal propaganda such as “re-emerging Tamil extremism” and “creating a rift between the communities”. On the morning of the 14th, the Sinhalese people, the army and the police, who had been transported in buses with the mighty chauvinist weapons and settled at the borders, were waiting at The Kurundoor malai.
Durairasa Thamilselvan, who had gone from Vavuniya for temple worship, described what the day was like as follows.
“I came to know through Facebook that Pongal prayers will be held at The Adi Ayyanar Temple in Kurundurmalai on the morning of the 14th. Since I was in Vavuniya, I set out for temple worship at 5 a.m. that day. I went to Kumuzhamunai and was allowed on a motorcycle up to the pond leading to the temple. The police and army personnel stopped me at the spot and recorded the national identity card, motorcycle number records and everything else.
I was questioned and asked where I was coming from, why I was coming, whether I had come alone, whether I had come together as a group. Sinhalese people were taken to the temple in buses at the same time as I was being interrogated. Neither the army nor the police stopped their buses. They also didn’t investigate them.”
“… There is no trace of the existence of the Adi Ayyanar temple in the temple premises. Even the ancient trident that had been prayed to AAyyanar had been uprooted. The Buddhist monks who had gathered in the pool along with the goods that the villagers and the Pongal organising team had brought to AAyyanar for Pongal called the police and spoke to them. They had an argument with the officials of the Department of Archaeology. First, officials from the Department of Archaeology came towards us.
He said that the fire should not be lit on the ground and that if such a fire was lit, the Buddhist archaeological remains would be destroyed, and a two-layer tin should be placed on top of it and a stove should be placed on top of it. As per the advice, while trying to set fire to the stove, the police came running and smashed the stove with boots. Following an argument, the police attacked everyone irrespective of gender. But at the same time stoves were lit on the ground in the tents of the army encamped to defend the place”.
“While the temple people were talking with the Department of Archaeology officials, the Buddhist monks called the Sinhalese people gathered there and told something. While trying to perform the Pongal worship again, a Sinhalese youth wearing a black shirt ran in and destroyed the stove with his foot.
At that time, the Sinhalese people who had gathered laughed loudly at the former member of the Northern Province Assembly who sat on the ground and stopped the Sinhalese youth. Enraged by these actions, an old Tamil woman appeared and started dancing. Some Sinhalese youths were singing and laughing as the old Tamil woman danced. They whistled”.
“Following this, the people of the temple and the worshipers started raising slogans against the police anarchy and against the Sinhalese mocking their worship along with the Bhikku(Monk). At that time, the police warned that there was going to be tension between the races and started attacking only the Tamils.
They pushed those who stood against them and knocked them down. Yet we all sat there. The police who surrounded us did not allow us to perform any worship. So, we got up again and poured the milk we had brought for worship on the spot and went towards the area where the Buddhist temple is built. I was moving forward. A police officer pushed me away. The Sinhalese stormed towards the Viharai, knocking me down”.
“…Then when everyone came back, the religious elders who came with us sang Devarams from that place. After singing Devaram, everyone came back and lit the lamp at the Sulam near the Kurundan pond and returned home”.
“The only thing that came back to mind when the house collapsed. There are two laws in this country. Even though the Tamils get justice according to justice, the Buddhist monks and their Sinhalese followers do not respect that justice either. They don’t respect the laws either”. – T. Tamilchelvan shared his worship experience.
After the incident took place, court permission was not obtained for the Pongal event. Some who work on the side of Buddhist Bhikkhu have criticized Tamil separatists as disturbing harmony. Therefore, regarding this issue, I was able to ask the opinion of a lawyer who is present in Kurundur Malai Adi Ayyanar Temple cases.
“In the two orders already issued in connection with this case, it is very clear that there is no restriction on Saiva people visiting the temple of Adi Ayyanar. Through these orders it was ensured that anyone could visit the place and worship. All the orders passed by the Court from time to time in this case were affirmed.
But the court permission was not obtained to perform Pongal worship alone. We argued that Pongal worship is only one of the temple worships. The point to be seen in this is that on 13.07.2023, the police had approached the court and requested that a new Shivlingam, Chulam etc. be installed, and hence a ban on the Pongal event.
In this, the court clearly stated that worship cannot be prohibited, and there is no evidence of the installation of new idols, and if such new idols are installed, the court ordered that it be prohibited. In this order and in all the orders already passed in this regard, the court did not impose any restrictions on the worship of Saiva people at Kurundur Hill Adi Ayyanar Temple. Even in the Pongal worship event held on the 14th, the Department of Archaeology allowed the Pongal to be performed with tin. But it was the police who acted against all this.”
What has the court said in the case of Kurundurmalai? He also answered the question.
“In the two orders already issued by the court in this case, it has been clearly stated that the conditions existing before 12.06.2022 should be followed in the matter of Kurundurmalai and no new constructions should be made in the area. At the same time, the court has ordered that there are no restrictions on Hindu devotees to continue worshiping the Saiva temple in that area. But even though the court has fixed the period and given the order, after that we have applied to the court for moving bond twice. Because the construction work is going on continuously without respecting the above order of the court. It is illegal. We brought it to the attention of the court citing contempt of court order.
But what the court emphasized as a re-order is that nothing should be done in the Kurundurmalai area in violation of the conditions of 12.06.2022. Many people criticize that this new construction is taking place even in violation of archaeology laws. In this regard, when he was asked whether the archaeology laws were violated while constructing a Buddhist temple in Kurundurmalai, he said, “The Hindu people are saying that the Buddhist Viharadipathi Vihara (Buddhist monastery) is being built in Kurundurmalai area. But when the court inquired about the matter, the Department of Archaeology came forward and admitted that it was carrying out the construction itself.
Therefore, the Department of Archaeology, which is supposed to operate according to the laws related to archaeology, should be investigated as to whether the archaeology laws have been violated by doing this. But doing constructions in violation of the above court order, even if it is the Department of Archaeology, it is an act of violation of the court order,” he said.
Finally, doesn’t the Buddhist temple being built in Kurundurmalai clearly outline that historically, practically and legally there is one law for the Tamils and one law for the Buddhist Sinhalese in this country?