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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2520

Tamil rebel Tigers attacked Ancient Buddhist temple in the East

Colombo, 21 June, ( The Somawathiya Chaithya, one of the ancient Buddhist temple was the latest to come under attack by the suspected Tamil Tiger rebels, on Monday at 6.00 p.m., according to Sri Lanka’s Army.

However, Liberation Tigers in a statement posted in their Peace Secretariat website denied any involvement in the attack and added they believed the attack is by "Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) operated forces aimed at creating ethnic tensions."

According to reports LTTE attacked Somawathiya, the Buddhist temple in the Eastern part of the country on Monday and they had fled after security forces guarding the shrine returned fire, a government statement said.

The government statement also alleged that the "attack" was an attempt to "arouse the sentiments of the Sinhalese Buddhists against the innocent Tamils to cause Sinhalese-Tamil strife."

A statement from the government's Media Center for National Security, said, a group of rebels opened fire with small arms from three sides on the Somawathiya, about 170 kilometers northeast of the capital, Colombo.

Security forces guarding the shrine fired back, forcing the rebels to retreat, the statement said.

Somawathiya is one of the ancient holy Buddhist shrines, situated amidst the thick jungle, 38 km east of Polonnaruwa where the Mahaweli flows close by.

According to the "Mahawansa", the origin of Somawathiya goes back to 2nd century BC. The temple remained without being renovated for centuries. The last restoration work of "Somawathya " was undertaken and completed in 1982.

Four years later on 20 May 1987, a group of suspected LTTE rebels attacked temple and killed a Buddhist priest and six civilians.

- Asian Tribune -

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