Tuesday 17 August 2021


Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

17 August   2021

Nallur Murugan Confirms Discrimination

On Friday when we were returning after vaccination for my husband -  I received a message from my sister about Nallur festival which was common period of faith in our extended family in Jaffna. Later that night we received the message that our cargo in relation to Vaddukoddai service had been duly cleared. As is my way, I said thank you to Nallur Murugan. There was a delay of almost 6 months due to various reasons – mostly due to Covid-related restrictions. When we started watching the 1st day’s ceremony – the suggestion to devotees was to invoke Murugan in our minds and pray. I had the virtual experience. But later I learnt through Samugam news at www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXTxRDMxauA  -  about the Police not allowing devotees to view the temple from far – as depicted by the picture on the left. The bus was blocking their view. They were wearing masks and after failing to get approval to go close to the temple building they sat on the ground – invoking  Gandhi in me. I felt for them and participated in the pain as if it had happened to me. That was also a virtual experience.


The above picture on left was published on 13 August 2021 by Sri Lanka Guardian about Retired Sri Lanka Navy and Former Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ravindra C Wijegunaratne’s experience of Kathirgamam in Southern Sri Lanka. The presiding deity at both temples  is Murugan. Kandy Esala Perahera – the Buddhist festival of tooth relic also began on 13 August. The information above highlights:


1)    Going to a Hindu shrine - was more important to a Sinhalese armed leader than participating in Buddhist festival

2)    The treatment of devotees in North was much harsher than the treatment of devotees in South – despite Murugan being a Hindu Deity and majority in Northern Province being Hindus.


Given that Northern Hindu devotees earned the right of worship on equal footing as any other religious devotees the above manifestations confirm serious discrimination against Tamils and denial of fundamental rights as provided for in articles 10 and 14(1) (e ) of the  Sri Lankan constitution.


Now, we would expect someone like Mr Wigneswaran who is a retired judge of Sri Lanka’s apex court – to identify with this clear breach of fundamental rights. But instead Mr Wigneswaran sends the following message:


[During the Tsunami the opposing warring sides, the Sri Lankan Forces & the Liberation Tigers forgetting their differences came together for a few days to join and help those affected by the Tsunami. Therefore it is incumbent that we forget our political differences at this stage and decide together as to how to save this Country from the Corona Pandemic]


It was during that period that members of the Australian Tamil community were tried here by Australian authorities for funding the ‘Liberation Tigers’. In addition to fighting to have them released, I went to be with the indigenous community in Mankerni, in Eastern Province – who were more affected by Tsunami than Northern Tamils. As per my experience – the mothers who lost their children – especially those taken by the LTTE – were using that opportunity to cry their hearts out at the temple, opposite which was an army camp. I wrote the reports for TRO (Tamil Rehabilitation Organization) which had the responsibility to Restructure Mankerni. Mr Douglas Devananda facilitated the final report to be submitted to President Kumaratunga.


The Tigers did not ‘forget’ the differences. As per published reports – they were using tsunami to collect funds for their own purposes.


Mr Wigneswaran, in his article lists recommendations to fight against Covid virus. This includes :


[Countries like Israel, Britain and Australia had made it compulsory that every person in their respective countries must get vaccinated  and  strict adherence to such rule has brought good results in their countries. Let us also make it our obligation to have ourselves vaccinated at the earliest.]

That is an outright lie about Australia which is still a ‘free country’. We had to make up our own minds and take the government’s recommendations only as per our belief in them. The mind is important and this has been referred to as placebo effect by Westerners. To my mind it is about our belief in the person who makes the recommendations. Recently when our Prime Minister stated ‘stay at home’ I mentally rejected it because he failed to facilitate the vaccine on time while urging us to get vaccinated. In addition he went off to the UK for the G7 meeting – while majority were adjusting to the new challenge at home. The medicine comes with the belief of the person in the patient as if the patient is a part of her/himself. This is more important in native medicine than in Western medicine.

The government confirmed this by demoting the Health Minister Ms Wanniarachchi for abusing Native Medicine. Aljazeera reports in this regard:

[Wanniarachchi was in intensive care in January after contracting the virus despite publicly consuming and endorsing a “magic potion” against COVID-19 made by a sorcerer.]

Mr Wigneswaran’s parallel of the above is listed as point 6 in his list:

[6. Those going out and returning home should in order to destroy the Corona virus in their nasal passages as well as on their throats inhale hot steam daily for some time. They could mix a little of any Ayurvedic Balm to the hot water before inhaling the steam. ]

Majority Australians do not do this. I do not know of a single Australian who does this. I do use native medicine for various reasons – but first of all I need to have belief in the person recommending. Mr Wigneswaran may not know whether Jaffna Tamils believe him or not. But if he believed in them – he would share his belief in law with the folks in Jaffna and leave the medical part to doctors who serve the people.

To me it is no coincidence that Mr  Wigneswaran made the recommendations at the time the Health Minister was demoted. Under LTTE it would have been dismissal. The following is an apt Tamil saying in this regard:

(One who abandons his know skills is ruined; as is one who touches job requiring skills he does not know)

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