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LIBERATION TIGER’ S WEB REPORTS OBSTACLES TO HINDU FESTIVAL IN TAMIL NADU WHILE HINDUS IN SRI LANKA CELEBRATED IT FREELY

By Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles

Liberation Tigers controlled website Eelam Nation reported that there were obstacles to the Hindu religious festival, "Vinayaka Chathurthi" in Tamil Nadu while thousands of Hindus celebrated it freely in the neighbouring island nation of Sri Lanka.

The LTTE controlled website said Tamil Nadu Police refused to grant permission to take the Vinaayakar idols to immerse them in the sea as they used to practice in the past years when the festival was held August 22. According to Hindu tradition the god also known as "Pillayaar" in Tamil is believed to be the son of Shiva and Parvathie and called "Ganadevi" in the Sinhala language.

The Tiger website said, "The religious festival was conducted almost at all Vinaayaakar temples in Sri Lanka in which thousands of Hindus participated the events despite the ongoing war between the Hindus and Buddhists in Sri Lanka."

It is customary for the LTTE to say routinely that the two religious groups are at war while the military clash is between the LTTE and the Sri Lanka government troops in which all religious groups are represented. LTTE lyric writers, however, have compared LTTE dictator Prabhakaran, a Christian, to Hindu god Murugan.

But the website failed to report that in the comparatively religion- tolerant Sri Lankan society even some Buddhists have certain sections of their temples dedicated to Lord Vinaayakaar , at places like Kataragama and some Buddhists flock to the Hindu temples to worship the Hindu god with an elephant face and a broken tusk. More than 50 per cent of Hindu Tamils live peacefully in majority Sinhalese Buddhist areas in Sri Lanka. In popular Buddhism it is customary for Buddhists to worship the god that is believed to bestow knowledge, especially on days when a young child is introduced to the written language and taught the first letters of the alphabet. "Ganadevi Hella" is an important part of the folk literature recited by the Sinhala Buddhists in praise of the Hindu god. In Sri Lanka the religions Buddhism and Hinduism exist quite tolerantly towards each other among the masses despite what the LTTE controlled websites attempt to portray.

The LTTE controlled website said, the Tamil Nadu police did not give permission to take the idols of the elephant-faced god in a procession indicating it would lead to communal violence as had happened in 1992 between the Muslims and Hindus when the procession passed through a street where a Mosque was located in the heart of Chennai.

The website said, " The Hindu organizations including the Shiv Sena Party condemned the Tamil Nadu Government for refusing permission. They reported that the government should provide adequate security in order to prevent such violence. But it is shameful to the Hindus now, the organizations said." Tamil Nadu is the home of 55 million Tamils who are mostly Hindus while they are a minority in Sri Lanka.



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