The Sinhala Buddhist extremist monks party, Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), which is a constituent of the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA), has been blocking the construction of ten-storied front tower (Rajakoapuram) of the several centuries old Munneasvaram Siva temple in Chilaapam (Chilaw) district in the North Western Province, according to the chief priest of the koayil, Mr Pathmanabakurukka’l.
Pathmanaba kurukka’l has said that the temple authority had made an application to the Madampe Divisional Secretary in May 2012 seeking permission for the construction of the front tower to the ancient temple.
However, Madampe DS has not given permission to the temple authority up to now.
During the preliminary work for the Rajagopuram construction, an ancient scripture was found and the Department of Archaeology has now said it belongs to Buddhist culture.
Meanwhile, Buddhist monks have begun to claim that a Bo tree found in the site proved that the area where the ancient Hindu temple is situated belongs to Buddhists and that no foundation should be constructed at the place for the Rajakoapuram.
The Saiva community in the area is perturbed over the twist of the history of the koayil by Buddhist monks and the SL Department of Archaeology.
The temple sources quote a statement made by the Jathika Hela Urumaya parliamentarian Ven. Ellewela Meththananda Thera to the media that the site where Munneasvaram temple is situated is a ‘sacred area’ for Buddhists.
Further, Buddhist monks say that the place where Vinaayakar temple is situated was earlier used by Buddhist monks as their residence and the Cheddiyaar Madam was used as Buddha Chaitya.
Temple sources say no permission is needed from the Divisional Secretary of the area to construct a Vihare but permission is needed for the construction of a Saiva temple in the traditioal Tamil homeland, which is under the colonial occupation by the Sinhala Buddhist unitary state in Colombo.