Sri Lankan Tamils are facing more threats from missionaries every day. Recently an issue of illegally building a church next to a temple to provoke Hindus has come to light. Despite Hindus objecting to the blatant attempt at disturbing communal harmony in the initial stages, the church was allowed to be built.
The temple administration opposed the church in the initial stages itself and sent a petition to the Kopay Divisional Secretary. Divisional member Ayngaran raised the issue in the monthly meeting of the Valikamam Division under which the temple falls. He informed the authorities that a building was coming up near the Selva Sannidhi temple with the intention of proselytisation without obtaining permission to do so.
It is much similar to how missionaries plant churches in Bharat. Christians obtained permission for the construction of a house but converted it into a church. Hindu activists have alleged that no prior permission has been obtained to use it as a religious place of worship and authorities should approach it from that angle to protect the religious harmony in the region.
Despite multiple warnings and requests authorities failed to take any action and construction work is nearing completion. The temple committee has expressed its displeasure with authorities in this issue as they have failed to address the worry that the church will disturb the peace between Hindus and Christians living in the vicinity.
Their fears are not unfounded considering the past incidents and similar provocations. Christian fanatics vandalised the arch put up for Shivratri celebrations of the ancient ThiruKetheeswaram temple and installed the statue of Mary claiming it to be their property.
The Selva Sannidhi Murugan temple located in Valvettithurai, Jaffna holds an important place in the lives of Sri Lankan Tamils. It is believed that Bhagwan Muruga was worshipped by Virbahu, his commander-in-chief here. Virbahu was sent by Bhagwan to negotiate with Asura Sura Padma before the battle in Tiruchendur. On his way back he did the sandhi puja(evening puja) to worship Muruga.
Later the sacred site was revealed to Kathirkamar, a fisherman, by a saint who did penance there. Bhagwan Muruga appeared in Kathirkamar’s dream and asked him to perform pujas and construct a temple. He was shocked and refused as he thought himself impure to perform pujas. But Bhagwan said that the moment he came out of the river when he called him, his sins were washed away and he should perform the pujas.
Kathirkamar agreed and started the worship. To this day traditions and customs are followed as laid out by Kathirkamar. Missionaries are trying to provoke Hindus by building a church near such an important place of worship to set up shop for conversion. Meanwhile, Christians claim that the former Niladhari granted permission to build the church but it couldn’t be confirmed with any official documents as per an IBC Tamil report.