Colombo, October 12 (The New Indian Express): A group of Sri Lankan Tamils have formed “Siva Senai” (Siva’s Army) to enable Hindus to face “threats” from other religious groups in the island nation, says the Senai’s Lead Organizer, Maravanpulavu Sachchithananthan, a former UN official turned Tamil nationalist and publisher.
Speaking to Express on the meeting held in Vavuniya recently in which it was decided to form such an organization, Sachchithananthan clarified that the Sri Lankan “Siva Senai” has no links with the Siva Sena in India. He also denied that it is meant to be a militant group.
“It is based on the ancient Tamil dictum that all thought, word and deed should be based on Anbu (Love), Aram (Morality or Religion) or Arul (Grace). We will adopt the path of dialogue in resolving issues with other religious groups and take to action if necessary,” he said.
Asked why he feels an organization like Siva Senai is needed in Sri Lanka, Sachchithananthan said that the Hindus of Sri Lanka (who are all Saivites) face threats and challenges from Christians, Muslims and Buddhists.
“Our first objective is to stop conversion. We are for safeguarding Hindu temples from encroachments by other religions. For instance there is a huge church in front of the ancient Thiruketheeswaram temple in violation of an agreement entered into in the 1960s. In Mannar and Mullaitivu we face challenges from the Catholics and in Vavuniya it is from the Buddhists who are colonizing through the imposition of Buddhism. In the Eastern Province the Hindus face threats from Muslims,” he said.
Asked if the Siva Senai would not be hurting the Tamil cause by splitting the community on the basis religion, Sachchithananthan said: “For 60 years the Hindus of Sri Lanka have sacrificed their interest at the altar of Tamil unity and that cannot go on. The leadership of the Tamil movement has been dominated by Christians. Many in India would ask me if the Tamils of Sri Lanka are Christian!” he said.
On the political front, Siva Senai will push for due place for Hindus in the Tamil political parties and end the dominance of Christians.
“In Mullaitivu, which is 85 percent Hindu, political parties tend to thrust Christian candidates,” he pointed out.
The Sri Lankan Siva Senai would need external support Sachchithanantham said and added that he would expect to get funding from India and the Tamil Diaspora, in that order.
The Siva Senai has appointed Organizers for all the 25 districts of Sri Lanka.
“These organizers will discuss our objectives with people in their districts and come back to us for a second meeting in November,” Sachchithanantham said.
The other main organizers of the Siva Senai are: S.Yogeswaran, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP from Batticaloa, and the religious leader, Then Kailaaya Adheenam of Trincomalee.