In recent times a number of shocking events have taken place in our compassionate nation. A nation where good Buddhists, Christians, Muslims and Hindus want to live in harmony with each other. However there are certain elements in society who wish to break our bonds of love and friendship. These elements are determined to sow the seeds of enmity between the people of many faiths and turn us against each other.
The Daily News spoke to Chief Overseer of the Apostolic Diocese of Ceylon Revd. Dr. Kirby De Lanerolle, who oversees a large number of evangelical churches in Sri Lanka, and some victims who have fallen prey to these currents that are trying to tear us apart.
“In the last 30 years, Sri Lanka had gone through a war. Many have faced situations of racial hatred and we are just coming out of this situation. But unfortunately there are ‘seeds’ and I want to call it “seeds” of religious hatred, that is being planted in peoples’ hearts. We are generally a very compassionate country. When the recent flood happened, the people of different religious faiths united,” said Revd. Kirby De Lanerolle.
“Sri Lanka is a very empathic nation. If we identify the issue from the root, then we could prevent certain communities from believing such hatred and killing is justified on some level. It is about educating people and the youth of our nation to recognize that these types of seeds can grow into something dangerous, and it is not acceptable on the grounds of religious difference to hurt or kill anyone.
We see certain nations where religious hatred is prevalent with ‘honor killings’. People are killed because they marry people of different faiths or if they themselves convert to a different religion. Because of their choices they are persecuted and killed. These honor killings take place in Middle Eastern countries and in parts of India. However in Sri Lanka, you do not see this often,” stated De Lanerolle.
De Lanerolle pointed out that as a religious leader he wants to make the public aware, not only for Christians but for people of other religious faiths as well, to be able to exercise their fundamental rights.
“People should be able to believe what they want to believe and practice it without persecution of hindrance. The Apostolic Diocese of Sri Lanka has 400 churches in Sri Lanka. As a Christian leader I want to make the public aware of this not only for Christian rights but across the board. Communities have to be educated not just about tolerance but about love, kindness and dialogue between religions,” he added.
The Daily News also spoke to the brother (Amirthlingam Kandasamy) and sister in law (Suppaya Lingaswary) of Janani Kandasamy 22, who was killed by her adopted mother Sinnathamby Manikkam.
When the murder took place, Janani’s brother Amirthalingam Kandasamy was in Colombo on a passport matter, as he was planning to go abroad. On the 31st at 7.30pm, he got into the bus from Colombo, and on the 1st at 4.30am got off at Kalmunei . He told his wife Suppaya Lingeswary that he would arrive at 4.30am, and wanted her to come on a motorcycle to the bus stand and pick him up.
Janani and her mother lived in a camp at Ampara, while Amirthalingam and Suppaya lived in another house within a short distance.
“When I was getting ready to leave, I saw Janani’s mother (Sinnathamby) and her sister in the vicinity, and they hailed me. She (Sinnathamby) told me that around 12 midnight she had an argument with Janani, and that Janani had run out of the house. I told them that I would drop them off at the church, thinking that Janani had taken refuge in the church. But they did not agree to that, so I went to pick up my husband. (Amirthlingam),” said Suppaya Lingeswary. When Suppaya and Amirthalingam came home at dawn, there were a crowd of five people near the house, as the news of Janani’s disappearance had spread through the village.
“I asked my mother where Janani was, and she maintained her story that there was an argument and Janani had fled. However at the back of the house I saw what appeared to be a newly dug up grave. Suspicion arose when my mother said that she had buried a dog there. But it was apparent that this could not be a dog. Also previously I had overheard a phone conversation, where my mother had made a sinister comment, that she would kill Janani,” said Amirthalingam
Amirthalingam and Supppaya believe this killing was religiously motivated, because Janani had taken to practicing Christianity. Even though she got married [another religion], she had practiced Christianity before and faced a lot of objection from the mother and husband when she intended to continue practicing.
“This prompted us to go to the cemetery, thinking that there was some sort of a spirit in Janani. My mother-in-law told us not to interfere and let things be. Even though my mother in law tried to deter us, at 9.00am on the 1st morning,we lodged an entry at the police station,” stated Suppaya.
By the 2nd, there was still no sign of Janani. Then the mother Sinnathamby, fabricated another story saying that Janani had run off with another man. However the newly dug up grave still bothered them. Suspecting foul play, since initially they felt this could not be a dog buried there, to assuage their doubts they called the police.
After questioning, the mother confessed to the murder, when questioned by the CID, saying that she had killed Janani with a blow to the head with a pole, and then cut the body into pieces, because the entire weight of the body was too heavy to carry. Now she is in prison.
The Daily News also spoke to Pakkiyanathan Subendran, whose son was refused a Christian burial. The child fell sick on March 16, 2016.
“In accordance with the Christian rituals we decided to bury my child the following morning at 10am. When we were getting about our rituals, a group belonging to another religion, disrupted the proceedings and denied us the right to bury the child, saying that it is an exclusive cemetery.
We were told to bury the body somewhere else,” said Subendran
So the father lodged an entry at the police. As soon as this happened, the group that caused the problem asked them to withdraw the entry, saying that they meant no harm.
“The next day when we took the body to the cemetery again, once more we were met with opposition from the group, saying that this burial site belongs to them and the burial rites should be in accordance with their burial rituals. The environment became increasingly hostile. And we were obstructed from going to the cemetery. The coffin was seized and placed in the pit, and a handful of soil was thrown on it with incantations which followed,” stated Subendran
The family then went to the police asking for Justice, because they did not want this to happen to anyone else again. So they were directed to the Pradeshiya Sabha. They were told that it is a common and public cemetery and not an exclusive one, and that it belongs to the Pradeshiya Sabha.
“The people who caused this problem said, they had used it for a long time as an exclusive cemetery. We have gone to the police but still we have not had justice from the courts,”said Subendran.
Article Source : http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=2016%2F06%2F28%2Ffeatures%2F85860