The files of the temple of Maththa'la-malai Murukan deity, which has been subjected to sudden claims of archaeological reserve by the Sinhala Buddhist establishment, have been secretly transferred away from Moothoor Divisional Secretariat this week by a District Secretariat official while the temple trustees were being kept in remand, informed civil sources told TamilNet on Thursday. The temple management had applied for official papers to document land ownership of the temple in 2014 and the Divisional Secretariat had recently received the land deed. But, it was transferred back to District Secretariat before the temple management was able to get it from the Divisional Secretariat, the sources said.
In the meantime, the State prosecutor was not able to document the existence of a Gazette notification to prove the claims of archaeological reserve when the case for taken for hearing at Moothoor Magistrate’s court on Thursday.
The Tamil temple trustees firmly stated that there was no archaeological claim of a Buddhist stupa and that they had not violated any clause of archaeological significance.
However, the temple trustees had to admit their ‘failure’ to obtain permission from the SL authorities before deploying a bulldozer to level the ground on the hilltop. Such was the manipulation of the SL Justice system and the temple trustees had been threatened by Sinhala inmates when they were kept in remand, a grassroots activist who accompanied the trustees said.
The trustees, after their release, told TamilNet that the SL Ministry of Resettlement and Hindu Affairs had donated money to reconstruct the Murukan temple in 2015 and 2016.
“How could an government ministry fund the reconstruction if it was an archaeological reserve of a Buddhist vihara of Anuradhapura period,” they asked adding that a total of 535,000 rupees had been received from the SL Ministry for the reconstruction of Murukan temple.
The temple is also an officially registered body with registration number HA/5/TM272 since August 2014, they said.
The Murukan temple is reconstructed also with financial assistance from the people of the area. There are 112 families registered in Choodaik-kudaa, they said. The temple management was conducting daily prayers since October 2016 and the temple is yet to see its consecration ceremony, they said.
Now, due to the controversial claim, the temple management is unable to proceed with further reconstruction. The Buddhist monks are making baseless and strange claims, the trustees further said.
Apart from the lawyers from Trincomalee, TNA Parliamentarian and lawyer M.A. Sumanthiran was also present at the Magistrate’s court on Thursday.