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Monk wants Muslims expelled from Arisi-malai in Trincomalee



An extremist Sinhala-Buddhist monk in Pulmoaddai division of Trincomalee has vowed to expel all the Muslims from Arisi-malai area, which he considered as ‘Buddha Pooja Boomi’ of an allegedly fictive ‘ancient heritage’. The monk, Panamure Thilakawansa, was attending the SL courts earlier this year carrying a placard which said ‘I am Chakravarthy’ (emperor). L.H.M. Halid, one of the six families that filed a case against their lands being appropriated, said the latest dispute was about six of forty-six acres of lands in extent. 

The lands belonging to six Tamil-speaking Muslim families have been claimed by the SL Archaeology Department, which was citing a Gazette notification from 2011. 

The lands were appropriated six months ago with the backing of former SL Minister for Buddha Sasana (September 2015 - August 2018) and Higher Education and Cultural Affairs (May 2018 - October 2018) Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, who was aligning with Mahinda Rajapaksa during the political crisis in the South. 

The occupying SL Navy was refusing the Muslim land-owners from accessing their lands after the end of the war. Then, the SL Forest Conservation Department started to block people from entering the lands. Later, the SL Department of Archaeology got involved with controversial claims. 

However, the civil officials at the Divisional Secretariat have been defending the poverty-stricken land-owners. 

The monk maintains that the land-owners were being supported by the local officials Tamil-speaking Muslim politicians and he claims that the land-deeds in possession of the land-owners were fake. 

Panamure Thilakawansa has vowed to appropriate 600 acres of lands surrounding Arisi-malai through the SL Archaeology Department. He wants to construct a Dhamma Pasal, which is a large monastery for Sinhala Buddhist monks. 

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