Singapore and Sri Lanka a comparison
Unfortunately, the Sinhala- Buddhist majoritarian mindset of the Rajapaksa clan will not help the country which is on life-support for its survival. The rulers are infringing all the 3 principles enunciated by the father-son prime ministers. Especially the principles of –
(1) Ensure that the Government of Singapore functions within the remit of Singaporean law and give no room for outsiders to allege that it curtails or violates the rule of law or its binding responsibilities.
(2) Maintain fairness between ethnic communities (Chinese, Malay and Tamil) so that rifts that open the door to outside interference are precluded.
The relationship among the ethnic communities Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims are worsening day by day thanks to the myopic, confrontational and racist policies of the Rajapaksa government.
In the North and East, not a day passes without a street protest, fasting, rallies against land grab and encroachment on Hindu Temples under the guise of excavating Buddhist heritage sites of importance. I will cite just three such examples that happened recently.
(a) On February 02, Army Chief Shavendra Silva laid the foundation stone for the construction of a 100ft Buddhist Stupa in Jaffna. The relevant land belongs to a Tamil person but presently occupied by the army. The ceremony was attended by all departments of the military and members of the Buddhist clergy. Shavencra Silva was invited as the chief guest by the Commander of the Jaffna security forces, General Priyantha Perera. The Stupa is constructed where there are no Buddhist worshippers.
(b) On 23rd January, the Sri Lankan Navy attempted to seize 7 hectares of private land belonging to 29 Tamil families in the Mandaithivu and Mankumban regions of Jaffna. In this instance too land in question is occupied by the Navy. The Navy has temporarily retreated in the face of massive protest by the people.
(c) A Sivan temple at Uruthirapuram, Kilinochchi is under siege by the Department of Archaeology which claims the temple is standing on a Buddhist vihara!
Obviously, the government does not maintain fairness between ethnic communities (Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims Chinese) so that rifts that open the door to outside interference are precluded.
All these are done when the government is battling more pressing problems like COVIID – 19 pandemic, foreign debts, the escalating price of essential household items etc. but foolishly it opens another sensitive battlefront by encroaching on Hindu temples in the North and East.
The Presidential Task Force appointed by the President last year and the Department of Archaeology is hell-bent to promote religious strife on top of existing fissures among ethnic groups.
The Association of Hindu Priests in Muttur alleged that after the end of the war, Saivite temples were being destroyed and encroached on. It cited the Kankuveli Agathiyar Sivan Temple, Kallady Neeliamman Temple, Killiveddy Thirumangala Sivan Temple and Kooniththeevu Maththalamalai Kundrathu Kumaran Temple in Mutur as examples.
The best way to pay homage to Buddha is to follow his teachings. Not digging to find statues of him under the ground.
Here again, if you dig deeper you will find remnants of Hindu heritage. After all, before Devanampiya Tissa’s conversion to Buddhism, the kings who ruled from Anuradhapura were all Hindus, including the legendary Vijaya.