Hindu group ‘Siva Senai’ founder M K Sachithananthan has reported another case of Temple desecration and conversion of a Hindu girl from Sri Lanka.
The case of Temple desecration has been reported from Muthaliyarkulam which is in the Hindu-majority Nilathari division of Sri Lanka. Nilathari division is the smallest administrative unit of the government.
This place is surrounded by woods and therefore the accessibility to this village is poor and so is the policing.
M K Sachithananthan has reported that:
“During the early hours of Thursday 2nd November 2017, Hindus found the Arulmiku Sithivinayakar Temple vandalized. Statues were uprooted from their bases. They were thrown away in the adjacent areas. Hindu environment has been desecrated.”
Further, he said that “this village is the target of religious conversions. These conversions are not from Islam to Christianity or vice versa but rather both Muslims and Christians target the Hindu population. Recently there was an advertisement consequent of a love jihad. The converted girl advertised the change of her name.”
Muthaliyarkulam has a small population size of 1,713. Hindus form the majority here with 1,156 persons (330 households). Catholics number 465 (121 households) and there are 92 Muslims (28 households).
Unlike India, Sri Lanka is not a secular nation, therefore, Buddhism is the topmost religion. The Constitution of Sri Lanka, Article 9 reads:
The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e).
M K Sachithananthan also said that the “recent happenings in the three districts of the Northern Province, Mannar, Vavuniya and Mullaitivu, points to an unprecedented upsurge in ultranationalist violence by certain Christian and Islamic groups, marked by numerous attacks on Hindus and Hindu places of worship.”
What the law enforcement agencies of Sri Lanka should take note of:
M K Sachithananthan pointed to the section 3 of the ICCPR Act of 2007 which says:
(1) No person shall propagate war or advocate national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.
(2) Every person who— (a) attempts to commit; (b) aids or abets in the commission of; or (c) threatens to commit, an offense referred to in subsection (1), shall be guilty of an offense under this Act.
(3) A person found guilty of committing an offense under subsection (1) or subsection (2) of this section shall on conviction by the High Court, be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.
(4) An offense under this section shall be cognizable and non-bailable, and no person suspected or accused of such an offense shall be enlarged on bail, except by the High Court in exceptional circumstances.
Section 2(1)(h) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) says:
..by words either spoken or intended to be read or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise causes or intends to cause commission of acts of violence or religious, racial or communal disharmony or feelings of ill-will or hostility between different communities or racial or religious groups;
The Penal Code of Sri Lanka contains sections 290-292 (offenses relating to the religions), which along with other similar provisions contain set of offenses relating to religion including uttering words with deliberate intention to injure religious feeling. The sections 291A and 291B are significant as they deal with hate acts.
M K Sachithananthan believes that “the need of the hour is to ensure that law enforcement authorities investigate, arrest and prosecute perpetrators of attacks on places of Hindu religious worship” in Sri Lanka.
He also sought direct intervention in this matter of Temple desecration. He refused to use the word ‘atrocious’ as it was not enough and said that this was not just a desecration, but “a clear attempt to provoke animosity… religious animosity towards hatred leading to hostility and violence.”
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