SL military, Buddhist monks demolish Saiva temple in Dambulla
Buddhist monks assisted by SL military in civil, claiming that a Saiva temple in Dambulla is situated on the ‘sacred grounds’ of Buddha Boomi (Buddhist soil) demolished the Paththirakaa’li Amman Koayil Tuesday night, without allowing the temple management to even conduct the rituals for the closure of the temple and relocate the idols of deities inside the temple. The controversial demolition has taken place at the place where Buddhist extremists targeted a 50-year-old mosque for destruction last year, provoking the Muslims in the entire island. Dambulla, situated in the Matale District of Central Province, is a junction of major highways that link Jaffna, Trincomalee, Colombo and Kandy. Colombo – Trincomalee and Jaffna – Kandy highways cut at Dumbulla.
On behalf of the Ka’li temple management, one of its trustees K. Luxmy had requested a few days of extended time to conclude the rituals and relocate the temple deities. But, the demolition was timed one day before the rituals were to commence, the management further said.
A so-called Urban ‘Development’ scheme of the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry, which is led by SL presidential sibling and Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, has been introduced in the area together with the Buddha Boomi project of the extremist Buddhist monks.
Sometime back, ‘unidentified persons’ had destroyed the idol of the main deity, Kaa’li Amman, and the temple management placed a new idol.
Even though the Tamil residents were relocated from the area a few months ago, the temple was functioning with regular poojas.
The Hindu Maha Sabha, which condemned the demolition, in a statement issued on Wednesday questioned the credibility of the talk of ‘reconciliation’. The destruction of the temple reminded the brutal attacks against temples during the times of the Portuguese who were the first European colonialists to occupy the Jaffna and Kotte kingdoms in the island 400 years ago.
Last year, the Colombo government had instructed the Muslims to relocate their mosque from the area after the controversial protest by Buddhist monks against the mosque and the Saiva temple.