North Sri Lankan Governor defends building Buddhist temples

By P K Balachandran, New Indian Express, 18 August 2016

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- The Governor of Sri Lanka’s Hindu Tamil-majority Northern Province, Reginold Cooray, has defended the building of Buddhist temples in the province saying that it is only part of a boom in the building of places of worship there.

“Big Hindu kovils are being built and many Christian denominations have come up with their buildings. But there are only 13 Buddhist temples in the entire Northern Province,” Cooray said.

“We don’t object to the Hindu kovils and Christian churches coming up. We welcome them,” Cooray, a Buddhist ,said wondering why some Tamils should object if the Buddhists built their viharas.

The Governor was answering a question at a press conference here on Thursday about the Buddhist temple being built on a Tamil person’s private property at Kokilai in Mullaitivu district, which has caused unrest among the local Tamil population.

Defending the construction, Cooray said that the temple had secured the permission of the local Pradeshiya Sabha and in a case against it, the court had upheld the construction. “It also has the support of hundreds of Sinhalese families living there,” he added

The Tamils see the mushrooming of Buddha statues and the construction of Buddhist temple as a projection of Sinhalese-Buddhist power in the North after the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).Tamils wonder why Buddhist temples are being built and Buddha’s statutes are erected in areas where there are no Buddhists. Most of them are constructed by the armed forces.