Buddhist Temple And Residents Fight Over Land

By Waruni Karunarathne

Muslims in Arisamale, Pulmuddai is still in a state of flux as the Arisamale temple has claimed 500 acres of land surrounding the temple as temple property. As the survey department went to demarcate the land for the temple at the end of last year people campaigned against the move and put the work on hold – yet people expressed fear that they will have to vacate their houses when required by the temple or the Navy who allegedly work in collaboration with the temple to acquire their property.

Chief incumbent of the Arisimale temple Ven. Panamure Thilakawansa Thera told the Sunday Leader that the site has important historical and archeological value. According to the thera and some Buddhist beliefs, Tapassu and Bhalluka traders carrying a lock of Lord Buddha’s hair had entered the country through the Arisimale port and deposited the sacred relic of Lord Buddha in Girigaduseya stupa in Thiriyaya.

The Thera added that there are so many ancient ruins belong to early Anuradhapura era that scattered around this area and we have made  requests to relevant authorities to get the land back to the temple – however surveys are not yet being done to demarcate the land that belongs to the temple. He added that the extent of land belongs to the temple could be either 500 acres or 1000 acres but that is to be decided after locating all the ruins scattered across the land after a proper survey.

According to the Thera, his chief monk at the time Ven. Dodanduwe Kassapa Thera had come to reside in that area in 1977 and Sinhala community lived around the area during that time.

“In early 1980’s when late Cyril Mathew was the minister of Industry, he developed 100 temples in North and East and the Arisimale temple came under that development project.” He added that due to the conflict they had to move to the South and he was travelling back and forth to see the temple till the conflict ended. He added, “My chief monk handed over the temple to me with proper legal documents.

The building complex of the temple was damaged during the war and it is now being repaired by the Navy.” He also said that the ancient ruins in the area prove that the inhabitant of the area were a Buddhist community since ancient times. According to the sources, the Cyril Mathew had plans to allocate 500 acres of land to the temple and to call it a sacred town.

However, according to the residents of the area, when they moved in during late 1980’s there was hardly any sign of a temple. There have been around 80 families who lived and engaged in agricultural activities in the area even during the conflict, residents claimed. According to the residents, the Muslim community in the area has been living there for nearly 30 years with land permits produced by the Divisional Secretariat – when the area was affected by tsunami, under the North Eastern Housing Development Project (NEHD) houses were built for the permit holders to the land.

A female Muslim resident of Arisimale added, “My family came to live in Arisimale area in 1989. When there were conflicts in the area, we were moving back and forth to Pulpuddai town. Often during day time we came to look after and tend the land in Arisimale and at night we stayed in Pulpuddai with friends or relatives.”

Another resident added, “These areas were affected by tsunami and under the NEHD project they built us houses.” However he noted that four houses built under the NEHD project are now inside the 100 acres which is already acquired by the temple with the support of the Sri Lankan Navy. Residents complained that those families who have been removed from the 100 acres taken by the temple are not yet being resettled.

According to the residents, the Chief Incumbent of Arisimale temple has claimed 500 acres of land in total as the property of the temple and residents were asked to vacate when required.

According to Navy Spokesman Kosala Warnakulasooriya, the Sri Lankan Navy has only requested the government to demarcate certain areas in Arisimale close to the northern boundary of the harbour to be given to the Navy. He added, “We have only made a request. Besides the land we requested is state land and do not belong to any private party. ”

He added that it is important for the Navy to have the coastal stripe close to the Trincomalee harbour as it is crucial to strengthen naval power and security of the country. He said that if anyone is making wrong complains saying that the Navy has acquired any land illegally they can go to courts as the Navy has followed the correct procedures.

Mr. Thilakawardena of the Department of Archeology added that the Department of Archeology has located ancient ruins dating back to early Anuradhapura era in the surrounding area of the Arisimale temple and they have listed the ruins.

Accordingly in a gazette issued in 2013 August 16 under no 1823/73, those ruins were identified and taken under the Department of Archeology to be preserved. However, according to Thilakawardena, the area was not claimed as an archeological site. When he directed the Sunday Leader to an officer who had worked in the Arisimale site, he added that the Department of Archeology has put their demarcations in the identified area which spreads up to at least 800 acres.

He added that they have avoided the existing houses – besides the site does not spread up to the residential area and it is only along the coast and includes a jungle area. He said, “We have marked that area as a property of the temple. But the legal survey has not yet been done. We have only identified the area with ancient ruins but the legal survey has to be done by the Survey Department.”

According to Survey General Nihal Gunawardena, the Department of Survey accepts contracts upon requests made by government organizations. He added, “Sometimes back there was a request from the Kuchchaweli Divisional Secretariat to carry out a land survey in Arisimale area to demarcate 500 acres of land for the Arisimale temple. We are not aware of who had taken the decision – we only acted upon the request made by the Divisional Secretariat.

At the end of last year when our team went to carry out the survey people of the area had campaigned against it. So we had to stop the work and we informed the relevant authorities that once they remove all those obstacles we would continue our work. We have not heard from them since then.”

When inquired the Acting District Secretary of the Kuchchweli Division C. Krishnendran about the legal aspect of the land permit given to the residents in the area he added that some residents have claimed that they have permits. He added, “Unfortunately, due to a fire that broke in 1990 most of the documents were burnt and we could not ascertain who have received proper permits.” He added that since he was appointed recently he was not well aware of the Arisimale issue and therefore could not provide accurate answers to many of the questions.

However from what he gathered he added that there had been a request to allocate 500 acres of land to the temple in Arisimale area last year but they could not finalize it – when the Department of Survey tried to carry out the survey, residents in the area have interrupted them and now the work is on hold. According to him, the case is now being processed in court and since then the Divisional Secretariat had not given any orders to any authorities or individuals related to the case.

“My family came to live in Arisimale area in 1989. When there were conflicts in the area, we were moving back and forth to Pulpuddai town. Often during day time we came to look after and maintain the land in Arisimale and at night we stayed in Pulpuddai with friends or relatives.”

A female Muslim resident

——————–

“In early 1980’s when late Cyril Mathew was the Minister of Industry, he developed 100 temples in North and East and the Arisimale temple came under that development project. My chief monk handed over the temple to me with proper legal documents. The building complex of the temple was damaged during the war and it is now being repaired by the Navy.”
Chief incumbent of the Arisimale temple Ven. Panamure Thilakawansa Thera 

———————–

“We have only made a request. Besides the land we requested is state land and do not belong to any private party. ”
Navy Spokesman Kosala Warnakulasooriya

———————————

“Unfortunately, due to a fire that broke out in 1990 most of the documents were burnt and we could not ascertain who have received proper permits.”
Acting District Secretary of the Kuchchweli Division
C. Krishnendran

15 Comments for “Buddhist Temple And Residents Fight Over Land”

  1. Lima

    SO EVERYTHING YOU BUGGERS CLAIM CAME FROM NOWHERE , WHO ASKED TO WORSHIP BODY PARTS OF ANOTHER PERSON WHO HAS NOT SEEN HIS NOSE , WORSHIP THE ONE AND ONLY EVER LIVING ALMIGHTY WHO CREATED ALL BEINGS , BY WILL OR NOT WILLING GOD ALMIGHTY WHO CREATED ALL IS THE ONE WHO IS TRUE AND NO OTHER GOD THAN HIM .

  2. George

    Oh God in heaven, why do you send fire to DS officers when there is a dispute over the documents in the divisions? Here all documents have been burned. So they have to accept the document in hand with the people in the area as it is the responsibility of the government to protect the copies of the documents issued. Just a fire broke out or documents lost people cant be punished. And the runis are not within the housing areas but along the coast and only the coast is needed by the navy and not areas that enclose the housing units. Please all have to act with heart too not just with head.

  3. Buddhika Lokubandara

    How come they come to know of it only now.
    We seem to be having a fine set of “Buddhist” priests, taking up cudgels and creating war situations in a peaceful situation.
    Are they really Buddhist Priests? Or Henchmen masquerading as Buddhist Priests? What a disaster. Why can’t they use some peaceful means of solving a problem – 500 to 1000 Acrest – what the hell are the temples going to do with that much of land – Will they cultivate to produce something to ease the hunger of the people?

    • noel-jones

      Buddhika Lokka, Why you writing using a sinhala name. Tell me at least once in your life time did you visit this area. In the Arisimale beach head there are lot of ancient ruins. Through out the adjacent jungle area lot of ruins yet to surface. This is not found now. It was found in many decades ago. Late Cyril Mathew as Industrial Minister while visiting the Pulmode Mineral Sand refinery, with the help of the workers there tried to protect and preserve this site. He wants to declare 500 acres as sacred area but the various difficulties delayed it and after his sudden death it stop.
      Yes your clan never know a value of ancient ruins and artefects. Your clan is very competent to bulldoze ancient ruins and build mosques on it or grow something. if not give it to your people who already own lands in some other places by issuing “Lands Permits”. Because breeding is the only subject they knew. Get lost idiot.

  4. Rajani

    This area is belongs to muslims and it is unfair encroaching this place. However, muslim politicians must act on it and help the poor people instead of talking big things.

    • noel-jones

      Rajani, This land are government lands and nobody has deeds to prove these lands theirs. Only corrupted DS officials like Anwar gave Land Permits as he wish to his ethnic[muslim] people. These people actually have lands somewhere else too. Before 1990 only less than 30 families lived there and from that 10 families were Sinhalese. After war ended in 2009 Muslim politicians expedite settling Muslims in Pulmode and now they encroach into Kuchchavali DS area. Even Pulmode DS Anwar has try to give Land Permits to Kuchchavali area. This day light land robbery very similar what’s happening in Pothuvil DS area and also Mirusawil, Wilpattu area in Mannar.

  5. Royce Fernando

    The hidden agenda of Muslims is to,
    1. “Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them.” Koran 2:191

  6. noel-jones

    Land permits not a valid document to ascertain land ownership. The government can survey the area using sattelite technology to demarcate the area belongs to Arisimale temple like they did in Wilpattuwa jungles to give lands to muslims. The ancient ruins all over the place and muslims driven by Pulmode DS Anwar behind the land grab in Arisimale. They want to erect cadjan huts and settle muslims taken from outside to populous the area. Recently he said he received 12000 applications for lands. If only 80 families[which is a lie] lived there in 89 how come he received 12000 applicantions.

  7. Wasa

    Lord Buddha did not advice to accumulate lands
    He did go on pindapatha to survive and sleep under a tree
    Rukka mula gathova shiny agatha gathowa
    Religion cannot be used to create disharmony among the human beings
    Politicians do things according to there agenda with hidden personal benefits and make the things worse
    This is not what Buddha preached
    We need to get rid of all these priests who create disharmony
    We need an uprising against these maniacs and antisocial behaviors. Ruining the future generation
    We need to find the hidden truth what Buddha said to achieve enlightment in this moment

    • noel-jones

      Wasa, Thanks for your noble idea. You better take the initiate and give your own land to landless people and enter into the “Sasana” and get rid of all these priests who create disharmony. And then you can find the hidden truth what Buddha said to achieve enlightment. Then we can witness that while you finding this hidden truth, an extremist muslim guy come and decapitate you.

      • Wasa

        If there is no self there is nothing to decapitate.
        Anatta. What Buddha. Preached
        Ego is the one that create all these through the mind

      • Wasa

        Recently I read a story about a Buddhist priest in a village in a srilankan newspaper
        He had very cordial relationship with all the communities in the village and was a prominent figure in keeping a peacefully environment for all the communities in the village
        When he departed it was the Muslim community in the village who organised and performed all the rites and rituals of the adahana ceremony Of this little known. Priest

        • noel-jones

          Wasa, Yes it happened in Mawanella area. You know why muslim’s participate in that procession of the demise monk. They want to show the world that we are innocent people, and the Sinhalese create problems for us. When they saw that some TV channels camera crew were there they forcefully took the coffin of the monk onto their shoulders. They want to hide the fact that they grab the land in Devanagala sacred area . A powerful muslim henchmen of Senior Minister Athauda Senevirathna built a two storey house inside the sacred area of Devanagala. He and few henchmen were behind that “Scene” which for TV channels. They [muslims] very competent about that kind of gimmicks. When the arch. officers come to demarcate the sacred area to Devanagala last year, muslims protest and chase them away. I’m not blaming all the muslims. But these extremist Wahabi’s actions create disharmony among us.

          And finally the Thiriyaya, Arisimale, Pulmode and Kuchchavali area coming under Mahawali Accelerated Programme , System “L” region and settlement of families, or distribute of lands comes under the sole discretion of central Government and the government do it according to the ethnic ratio.

      • Wasa

        I would like to know who you are. Mr Noel jones
        Any connections with a NGO s

        • noel-jones

          Wasa, Nope I’m a freelance investigator. Nobody funding me. My personal money used for it. That’s the only information I can give you now.

Comments are closed

Photo Gallery

Log in | Designed by Gabfire themes