The Sunday Leader

Hindu Community Faces New Religious Threat

By Chrishanthi Christopher

Several complaints have been received from parents of a girl’s school in Colombo

Religious sentiments are running high around the world. An online video film allegedly insulting Islam has sparked violence in several countries killing seven people. The US and the Western embassies in the Islamic countries have come under attack.
Here at home the Hindu sentiments are simmering. Recently the traditional practice of offering animal sacrifices to Lord Shiva in the ancient temple belonging to the Hindus came under protest. The Buddhist clergy and animal rights groups opposing the killing of animals in the Sri Bhadrakali Kovil Muneswaram called on the government to put an end to the killings saying that it was against the Buddhist precepts.
Adding to the series of problems confronting the Hindu community recently there were several complaints from parents of students studying in the Hindu schools in Colombo.  It is alleged that groups of people belonging to a certain Christian sector had been distributing Bibles.
It is learnt that these groups consisting of locals and a few     foreigners have met the principals of the schools and with their help distributed Bibles to children. Hindu parents of these children complain that it is an inappropriate act.
Puwenesweran a parent of the Ramanathan Hindu College in Bambalapitiya says that his daughter had brought a Bible home on Monday the 18th. “I was surprised to see a Bible in my daughter’s hands.”
On questioning his daughter he had found out that a couple of people - a foreigner and a local – had been handing over bibles to children at the gate of the school.
His daughter Abhira (not her real name) in Grade 7 says that she and her friends were compelled to take the Bibles that were distributed.   “When school was finishing my teacher told us that there are some persons distributing some books at the entrance and to take one home”.  She says that the book looked nice ‘like a diary’ and that they took it. She said that they were told that they can give it to someone else if they don’t want it.
Ravi a father of another student from the same school says that his daughter was forced to take the bible that was distributed.  He says that the books were distributed inside the gate. “It was inside the gate and they cannot do it without the permission of the principal of the school,” he maintains.
Balasubramaniam a parent of a student from Hindu College Bambalapitiya says that it is sad that these things are allowed in Hindu schools.  “We are not against Christianity but they are trying to convert our children adopting subtle methods,” he says.
“We must be careful,” he adds.
However the school authorities of Hindu College Bambalapitiya and Ramanathan Hindu College, Bambalapitiya are distancing themselves from the episodes.  They deny any involvement in the act. They maintain that the groups had been distributing Bibles outside the compound of the schools. They were denied permission they say.
Principal Kothai Nagularajah says that the books were distributed outside the school gate not inside. Nagularajah refused to talk to The Sunday Leader on the grounds that she has already sent out a statement to the Tamil media refuting the charges. Hindu College, Bambalapitiya, Principal, Rajaratnam also maintains that the Bibles were distributed outside the school premises and they have had no hand in the distribution. “We never granted any permission to distribute the books among our children it happened outside the school gates and we cannot comment on it,” he said.
However Nugegoda Tamil Vidyalaya Principal Thiagaraja has no qualms. She openly admits that a Christian group had come in to distribute Bibles to the children. “They handed me around 400 bibles to be distributed and I distributed them and still have around 200 left,” she says. Thiagaraja maintains that she had distributed the books only among the Christian children in the school.
Thiagaraja says that she attempted to return the bibles but was told to keep them as it might be useful in the future.
“I do not understand their motive but even my two daughters studying at the Ramanathan Hindu College brought home two Bibles,” she said.

Religious Groups React….

Sharma Kurukkal of the Captain Gardens Kovil commenting on the systematic distribution of Bible in Hindu schools on a planned agenda says that it does not look right. “It is not good for Hinduism,” he says.
Sharma Kurukkal says that he has taken the problem to the Hindu Congress and that they had assured him that action will be taken in this regard.
The Hindu Congress and the all Ceylon Sami association are to meet some high officials of the government soon with regards to issues that have risen in Hinduism in Sri Lanka.
However the Hindu Congress Deputy, Neelakandan denied receiving any report from the Captain Gardens Kurukkal.
Asked if he will be taking up the issue when they will be meeting the government officials; he refused any comment saying that he is at a meeting.
Bishop of Colombo of the Anglican Church in Sri Lanka, Bishop Duleep de Chickera also practiced restrain on the matter.  He refused to comment on the problem saying that he wanted to know the actual denomination to which the group belonged to say anything.
The literature is printed in Tamil and has been typeset in Bangladesh.

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Western Province Council Member complains…..

Nalliah Kumarakuruparan of the Western People’s Front (WPF) says that the school authorities of Ramanathan Hindu College (a girls’ school) and Colombo Hindu College in Bambalapitiya (a boys’ school) had given permission to distribute Bibles to the school children after school.
He says that the group consisting of locals and foreigners had distributed some 4000 Bibles on two consecutive days on Monday (Sept 17) and Tuesday (Sept 18) last week. The act he says has put the parents in a quandary and had made them lodge complaints to the member.
“Many parents came up to me that evening and complained and some even met me in the Kovil and complained,” says Kumarakuruparan.
It is learnt that the authorities of these schools had allowed these foreigners to distribute the books.
“I am not against any religion but the way they are doing it is not right.  Even I have the Bible, Thirukural and the Quran and I read them for knowledge,” says Kumarakuruparan.
Kumarakuruparan is concerned that only the Hindu colleges are targeted when there are several other colleges in the area.

20 Comments for “Hindu Community Faces New Religious Threat”

  1. Sri Lankan parents must allow their children to learn…..with holding information and preventing from learning would lead to situations that may be beyond their control…..

    We Sri Lankans must be open ….accept all religious views….remember….a religion is only a guide…..

    • As if I care

      Discrimination
      Before the government takeover of the private schools mainly Catholic, Christian which were the best in the country many a Hindu had an excellent education there which even the Hindu college or Buddhist colleges can’t boast of. None no none were converted because the Hindu boys and girls learnt their religion elsewhere or at home. Some even learnt Hinduism from the late Panyananda thera (a figure from royalty) to sit their o’levels and came out with distinctions.

      The bible is without Vanity. Faith is to religion: is an emotion, as opposed to a rational thought process.

      It is perfectly possible for folk to remain good Christians, Hindus, Buddhist, Moslems and yet to be united in full agreement on the basic doctrines of the perennial philosophy.

    • Non Christians aren’t interested in sharing their faith with others. They don’t want to distribute their religious books with others. They don’t have a commission to let others know of their religion. But Christians have been asked by Jesus to spread the good news every where. Accepting or ignoring is their option. This sharing of the good news is in fulfillment of our obligation. Because every one must be given a chance to hear the gospel before the second coming of Jesus. Therefore if we don’t share the gospel with others, we are guilty of delaying His coming. For those who receive the Bible or any other chance of getting to know the gospel, it could be their opportunity to accept or deny and it could be their last chance. Please don’t oppose Christians doing their commissioned duty. You may simply say no sealing your fate for eternity.

  2. Ralahamy

    Why don’t these religious zealots, channel the money towards providing relief to the deserving students and poor teachers? Nobody will reject this offer, because it will help the society to promote education.
    Distribution of Bible is not the alternative to broaden a student’s mind. It is only to propagate Christianity and find people who are mentally slaves to the Vatican.

    • As if I care

      Sending house maids is indenture system like slavery which was abolished.

      Its a disgrace to ask for aid and more over its corrupts society.

      Read not to believe nor take for granted but to weigh and consider.

  3. Rajan Kumaralingam

    Suppose some Hindus were distributing copies of the Bhagavad Gita at Holy Family Convent Bamabalapitiya. That would never be tolerated. The Rev Mother would phone the Bishop who would phone the President. Apologies all round, dear Christians it will never happen again. But for Hindus it is a different law.

  4. Lakmal

    What a pathetic status. It seems at one instance stated above; the teachers have colluded with external forces to distribute religious text not welcome by the parents. Those teachers involved must be brought to a disciplinary inquiry. This type of activities makes our citizens of different faiths to suspect each other. This ultimately leads to ethnic and religious unrest among our people.

  5. EDDIE

    I CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHAT IS WRONG IN READING A BIBLE. I AM A CATHOLIC AND I HAVE READ BOOKS ON BUDDIDTSAM, HINDUISAM AND ISLAM. BUT STILL I AM A CATHOLIC. PEOPLE DO NOT BECOME CHRISTIANS BECAUSE THEY READ A BIBLE AND AFTER READING THROW AWAY THE BOOK. IT IS SO SIMPLE

    • Rajan Kumaralingam

      Rubbish! You are an adult, an impressionable child is not. It’s so simple!

    • Rajan Kumaralingam

      You are an adult reading about another religion. It is different for an impressionable child. Why do you think all Catholic children are expected to attend Catholic schools? One reason is because they are young and impressionable and the church wants to teach them their faith without any other influences.

    • Dilan Silva

      Hello Eddie,
      the in srilankan specially in the villagesare being converted to christianity at an alarming rate. Poverty due to war, lost of support due to war are the main cause. Everybody is carrying bible in villages where the village was the whole hindu village/Buddhista all provice. Don’t worry, every action has equal reation. The Buddhish monks will take care of it soon becase it happens all over the Island. We will see all the christians in a refugee camps where even Jesus won’t save you.,

  6. I don’t consider giving Bible or any holy book to anyone a religious threat. We have more threats to focus, instead of finding faults in the evangelization process. If reading a book would convert your kid to some other religion, I would say, he was not attached to your religion at all – better to let him go.

  7. Kumar

    Why these people are bothering too much about this incident? If they hand over a bible, take them home and use for rapping for something or else burn the bible like some people burn Qur’an.

  8. Haasya

    Chrishanthi Christopher writes “Recently the traditional practice of offering animal sacrifices to Lord Shiva “, with a name like hers we can understand where all this is coming from. My knowledge of Hinduism is limited but I can be certain that there have been no such offerings to Lord Shiva, Shakthi Parwathie, Lord Ganesh and beloved Sarawana, ever in Sri Lanka or India the home of Hinduism. She is ignorant of the fact that practicing Hindus are 100% vegetarians and both Saivaites and Vaisnawas demand that in expression of Love , Compassion and kindness to animals whom they believe was not created by god just for the man to kill and consume. On this respect I admire the Hindus much more than my own Bhuddists who have taken the easy way out ie, they eat flesh of others feeling good that they don’t kill them and get another group to do the killing.

    We are aware of ancient practices of offering animal sacrifices as a form of worship to an aspect of goddess Kali who is considered to be another facet of the same gem or a manifestation of Lord Shiva himself. Then these ‘Kali worshipers’ In India raped women as a essential form of worship of goddess Kali ! In those days it was accepted behavior from ‘Kali worshipers’ whilst it is NOT today. Perhaps it is time to stop the killing of innocent animal in worship of god, demon , awathara or a savior and practice universal kindness.

    Hindus can and must sort this problem themselves. Admittedly, school age is when you like to read story books. Conversion to Christianity is a big earner in SRi Lanka and many other countries. These converters / groups backed by money from American Christian organizations are very active in Sri Lanka and the poorer Buddhist families are the most targeted group with offers of money , good jobs and richer Christian wives, and even, young Bhuddist priests are targeted and offered substantial funds to, leave the robe get converted to Christianity and take a Christian/Catholic woman as a wife. There is recorded evidence for this and anybody interested could listen to recordings of the program ‘Balumgala’, of Neth FM radio in Sri Lanka.

    Whilst Bhuddists in general have resented and opposed these attempts and taken action Tamil Hindus have been accommodating expecting political and financial support and lip service from them to achieve their eelam. It is a well known fact that Christian and Catholic clergy worked very hard to divide Sri Lanka with the aim of creating a Christendom in the expected eeelam. Christian clergy was caught smuggling claymore mines, bomb detonators and prohibited items such as dry cell batteries and triggers , concealed in their robes for the LTTE which was mainly a Christian Tamil led organisaton with the support & blessings of the Hindu Tamil. In India Tamils in TN and Keralaists are the race / community with the highest percentage of Christians. Indians explain this saying that ‘low casts people are ones who run to Christianity and the percentage is high with the low cast Tamils’. In Sri Lanka where Cast is not taken much notice of Tamils have still taken up Christianity to benefit from their Christian school education and promoted job opportunities. Perhaps they should have realised that there are ‘no free lunches’ on offer, and it is now time to pay for it ! Sanathan Dharma will prevail, take action. Sathyam Sivam Sundaram,.

  9. hela Mahinda

    Buddhist communalism is hding behind the hindus when it suits their fancy?

    It is the Buddhists who feel under threat from all and they are trying to make it a hindu problem.

    The hindu’s have been dealing with Christians in a friendly manner for 1000′s of years. so please dont fish in troubled waters….

  10. Uthungan

    How does Kumaragrurparan know if only Hindu students received bibles?
    Did he make any enquiries from the heads of schools where Buddhist or Muslim students study?
    Is it not somewhat excessive to use the word’targeted’?
    What is wrong in reading the Bible,Koran,or the Dhamapada.It was Swami Ramakrishna who said that all religions are like various rivers flowing into the same sea.At the shrine of the said sage situated at Ramakrishna Road,Colombo 6, this message is displayed boldly ,
    Our own Jaffna Siddhar Yogar Swami too said the same.
    The same message is given in the Bagavath Gita too. so there is no reason to be unduly concerned about the distribution of the Bible.
    Why not the Hindus distribute the Gita and the Thirukural.
    Will the self appointed leaders of the Hindu Mahasaba in Colombo take note instead of parading their importance to gain popularity and political influence?.

    • Prasad

      Yes, Uttugan. I totally agreed to your idea. Every religion has their own explainations; however final outcome is developing the mind in peaceful and freindly manner. Some extreme religious leaders and politicians use this type of incidences to fulfill their self fish needs. In here (not in Sri Lanka), some Christian religious groups distribute “Awake” magazine. If you like you can take it or refuse it. However, everytime when I see I take one and read it. It has nice explainations and reviews about current word problems and disasters. If they try forcibly to join to their religion, it is not a healthy practice. So far, I do not see that type of parctice. My son, currently finishing his B.Sc. in a prestigious university in here, likes to study all religions and their values and using the spiritual part of those to improve the day to day life. However, he is a Buddhist devotee.

      My take home message is “Thinking, Talking and Acting should be one, and not three.”

  11. Prasad

    Dear Nalliah and other Hindu devotees,

    Why do not you have a Buddhist scripture to read and get knowledge? You read Quran, Bible and your hindu scripture, however, it seems you do not want to learn Lord Buddha’s teachings. If you study Buddhism and practice it, you people become calm and peaceful community without harming / killing any creatures. Sai Baba also understood that Buddhism is a very spiritual and practical religion for present turbullent world. Do not delay, start today, disseminate this idea to your community.

  12. Wijayadasa Kariyawasam

    Suppose some Hindus were distributing copies of the Bhagavad Gita at another Bambalapitiya school, say Holy Family Convent. Would that be tolerated? The Rev Mother would phone the Bishop and the Bishop would phone the President and it would be stopped immediately. Apologies, dear Christians, it will not be allowed to happen again. But for the Hindus there is a different law.

  13. tim

    3 Buddhist temples were burned in Bangla desh and people were chased out.
    by muslims yesterday.

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