His Excellency Prasad Kariyawasam,
High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in India,
Sri Lankan High Commission,
27, Kautilya Marg,
New Delhi-110 021
Sub: Assaults on the Hindus of Sri Lanka
Human Rights Defense International is deeply concerned about these recent acts of violence with a religio-communal overtone upon the Tamils in Sri Lanka:
1. The vandalization of 13 terracotta sculptures on the Gopuram (entrance tower) at the Katpaka Vinyaakar Saiva Temple in Trincomalee on June 7, 2013.
2. The killing of septuagenarian priest of Siva temple at Valli Kukai cave in Chella Karthirkaamam on June 4, 2013. The killed priest Rajapaksa Mudiyansalage Premdasa belonged to aborigine Vedda community associated with Saiva tradition.
3. The well-orchestrated plunder of three Saiva temples Kalunvaangchik-Kudi in Batticaloa district on midnight June 1, 2013.
4. The move to install a statue of Lord Buddha at the entrance of the Batticalao city against the wishes of the overwhelming Tamil-Hindu population of the city. While we perceive Gautama Buddha as a proponent of Human Rights, we find such an imposition contrary to the precepts of Buddhism itself.
We wish to remind you that the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe while addressing the Second World Hindu Conference at Colombo on May 2, 2003 had stated that Hinduism is the oldest religion of Sri Lanka and has played an important role in developing the culture of Sri Lanka. The earliest ethnic violence in Sri Lanka in 1958 had a communal overtone. Hinduism is the principal religion of the Tamils of Sri Lanka. Its philosophy is non-invasive, apolitical, accommodative and artistic. The stalwarts of Sri Lanka like Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam, Ananda Coomaraswamy were products of Hindu culture. The Lankan Tamils are deeply religious. They construe their culture identity as the Hindus. Such attacks on Hindu religious traditions and icons might fuel a sense of alienation.
We demand that culprits of vandalism and murder must be brought to book and punished. This alone can put to rest suspicions about their intention. Similarly all suspicion that Buddhism is being promoted in Sri Lanka at the cost of Hinduism should be put to rest. Erecting the statues of Buddha should not be an act of fluttering banner of victory. “Victory’ says Dhammapada, “breeds hatred because the conquered is unhappy” (V. 201).
Human Rights Defense International