Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader Sampanthan has written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa alleging that a Buddhist monk , who is a member of the Presidential Task Force for Archaeological Heritage Management in the Eastern Province, had threatened a group of farmers in the Thiriyai area in the Kuchchaveli Divisional Secretary’s Division in the Trincomalee District.
Sampanthan said that the reverent monk residing in the Arisimalae Buddhist temple has threatened a group of farmers and prohibited them from farming on their private lands and other lands for which they hold a government permit.
Sampanthan said that the lands are privately owned by various persons, on private deeds of government permits or possessed for cultivated by them for several decades and generations and they had cultivated these lands prior to being displaced by the war.
He said most of the people returned after the war and commenced cultivation several years ago while others are preparing to commence cultivation this year.
The tract of paddy fields in Thiriyai in question are Aththikkadu, Neeravikandal, Pallapavagal, Pattanipathi, Kandapanavayal and Paavallankandal.
On 20 August , a reverent monk residing in Arisimalae Buddhist temple had allegedly complained to the police and on his intervention the driver of a tractor who was working on the field had been arrested and remanded.
On August 23 August when a large number of people had gathered at the Kovil for the Pillayar-Ganapathi Temple for an important religious festival, the monk had gone there with the Police and warned the farmers against going to the fields and threatened them with arrest.
Since then none of the farmers had gone to the field even though they must cultivate before 15 September.
Sampanthan said that the high-handed action for the monk is linked to the Presidential Task Force of which he is a member.
A copy of the letter was released to the media.