A gang led by a Buddhist monk, on 06 August forcibly removed the eight decade old statue of the main deity (Pi’l’laiyaar) from Sri Chiththi-vinaayakar Koayil, which is located at Paanama junction along Kalmunai-Paanama coastal road in the Ampaa’rai district. More than two hundred Saiva families in the area use to visit the temple to perform their rituals and to attend pooja. Two months ago, a Pi’l’laiyaar statue from a Saiva temple in Polonnaruwa district was forcibly removed from the ‘Moolasthanam’. Likewise, another Pi’l’laiyaar statue from a Vinaayakar temple located in the border village Punaanai in Batticaloa district along Colombo-Batticaloa highway was also forcibly taken over by a Buddhist monk.
Saiva devotees in Pa’nama area said the latest act of desecrating the temple was committed with the assistance of the chairman of Paanamai Preathesiya Saba, who is a brother of the monk. The Buddhist monk and his family members have been causing hardships to Tamil villagers residing in the area.
The temple was earlier situated closer to the Buddhist vihara at Panama junction.
Later, the temple was shifted to a new locality. The Pi’l’laiyaar statue in the old koayil was taken out and installed in the new koayil and consecrated.
Since then the number of devotees visiting the Buddhist Vihare has declined.
The monk in charge of the Vihara then decided to bring back the Pi’l’laiyar deity from the relocated koayil to the old temple situated close to the Buddhist temple, the Saiva devotees say.
Complaints made by Saivaites of the area with the SL Police against the forcible removal of Pi’l’laiyaar deity failed to bring any response, they further said.