Sri Lanka: Feud over appointment of Muslim to Hindu Cultural Affairs Ministry

Anger over the appointment of MP Kadar Mastan as the Deputy Minister in Charge of Hindu Religious Affairs has again brought to light the tension that has engulfed Sri Lanka.

The move was criticised heavily by the Hindu group Seva Senai founder Maravanpulavu Sachchithananthan who reminded the Buddhists of the nation that it was a Hindu, Ponnambalam Ramnathan, who during 1915-1916 worked to get the release of over 5,000 Buddhists imprisoned by the British government including some of the many leaders who later worked to bring Buddhism to the centerfold.

The reason for this anger is that being a Muslim, the deputy minister, will not pay due regards to the cow as is given in Hinduism and Buddhism.

Sachchithananthan noted in fury that “a Muslim kills cattle, holiest among animals for Hindus, to eat. Islam shuns all physical representation of any God. Even carrying a picture of a Hindu deity inside the pocket of an immigrant Hindu in Saudi Arabia is a crime with excessive punishment. For a Muslim, Saudi Arabia is the holy land.”

Siva Senai and many Buddhist groups have been demanding a ban on cow slaughter and the sale of beef in Chavakachcheri. The Hindu group took to streets just before Ramzan demanding that their traditions be respected.

In May 2013, a Buddhist monk died after setting himself on fire to protest against the slaughter of cattle.
In May 2013, a Buddhist monk died after setting himself on fire to protest against the slaughter of cattle.

But that is not all, a serious charge was levied by Maravanpulavu Sachchithananthan when he said that ‘Kalmuanikkudi in the Sri Lankan Amparai district had two Hindu temples destroyed to be converted to Mosques. Hon Minister Hisbulla has openly declared that he was personally responsible for the destruction of the Kali temple at Kallady to build a Mosque.’

He further accused the Muslims of using coercive conversions of Hindus and of illegally occupying private Hindu lands and also trying to change the demography to overtake Hindus to be the second largest populous segment in Sri Lanka through geometric proportional rate of reproduction.

This group had earlier spoken our against love jihad also.

Interestingly enough, the appointment comes right after Buddhist and Muslim riots where many Muslims were roughed up by a charged Buddhist mob.

Earlier, there was a row when the Sri Shanmuga Hindu Ladies College made headlines in late April when controversy erupted over its Muslim teachers wearing the abaya. Earlier, Muslim teachers wore the saree in Tamil style and top it up by a headscarf, but as soon as the abaya wearing became the news, a group of parents and teachers from the Hindu community protested, demanding that the Muslim teachers abide by wearing saree. The controversy has died down but the tensions remain.