Mervyn Silva To Investigate All Kovils!
By Indika Sri Aravinda
Minister Mervyn Silva has said that he would ensure that no animal sacrifices will be allowed to take place in any Kovil in the island, adding that he is investigating all Kovils to see if they cause disturbances to the public, based on powers vested upon him as the Minister of Public Relations.
“I have assigned teams to find out whether animal sacrifices are being carried out in other Kovils in the country,” Silva said, but added that he had no intention of removing the Munnesvaram Kali Kovil from its current premises.
Silva said that he would also investigate to see whether the land from the temple adjoining the controversial Kali Kovil had been misallocated.
He said that discussions would be held in the near future with trustees and priests from both the temple and the kovil regarding the matter.
Silva said that he did not have a need to create unnecessary tensions between various religions, and added that all people in the island had a right to practice their faiths. He said that another Kovil in Udappuwa used to practice animal sacrifices, but the practice had now stopped after his intervention. He added that a second temple near Munnesvaram had asked him to take over the Kovil, but he had refused the offer.
Ravi Shankar, referred to as the Hindu Advisor to the President, has retracted his earlier statement and said that no agreement was reached between the President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunge and the Kovil Priests. Shankar clarified his official title as the Coordinator to the President on Hindu Affairs. Weeratunge on Thursday in a release to media contradicted his earlier position and said that the government would not endorse any animal sacrifice. Weerathnge was however quoted by Shankar to The Sunday Leader on Friday, 7 September, as stating that he would make the necessary arrangements to facilitate the sacrifice, in case the Kovil decided to go ahead with the ritual. The Sunday Leader learns that Shankar has come under pressure from various parties to retract his statement, and that his post has also come under uncertainty as a result of his comments.
Sivapada Sundaram, the chief priest of the Kali Kovil, informed The Sunday Leader that the names mentioned in our article on 7 September had not taken part in the sacrifices.