Aranthalawa Bhikkhu Massacre 27th Years
Aranthalawa Massacre in Sri Lanka was the massacre of 33 Buddhist monks, most of them young novice monks, and four civilians by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam terrorist organization on June 2, 1987 close to the village of Aranthalawa, in the Ampara district of Eastern province of Sri Lanka. The massacre is considered one of the most notorious and devastating atrocities committed by the LTTE Tamil terrorists in the world during the history of the Sri Lankan war with the Tamil terrorists, and continues to be commemorated 27 years on by Buddhists and other religious leaders worldwide.
Aranthalawa massacre took place on June 2, 1987,] when a bus carrying Buddhist monks and a few unarmed civilians was ambushed by 20 armed LTTE Tamil Terrorists near the village of Nuwerathanne. They then ordered the driver of the bus, which was carrying the monks on a pilgrimage from their temple in Mahavapi to the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara close to Colombo city, to drive into the nearby Aranthalawa jungle. After the bus stopped, the LTTE cadres went on a rampage, attacking the monks with guns and swords and also shooting some of them with machine guns.
Among the dead were 30 young novice monks and their mentor, the Chief Priest of the Vidyananda Maha Pirivena, Hegoda Sri Indrasara Thera. Four civilians who were traveling in the bus were also among the dead. Three monks who escaped the massacre sustaining critical injuries continue to require medical assistance. Another monk was permanently disabled.
This and similar attacks against Sinhalese civilians are carried out by the LTTE Tamil terrorists to antagonize the Sinhalese majority against the Tamil populace of the country, thereby creating rivalry between the two main ethnic groups of Sri Lanka. The LTTE terrorists hoped such animosity between the two races would result in attacks by Sinhalese against Tamil civilians, which would increase support from Western governments, Western backed NGOs and Pro-LTTE Tamil terrorists UK, EU and US Tamil diaspora funding towards their separatism campaign.
Buddhist monks are incapable of defending themselves. Harming of monk is considered to be one of the highest offences in Theravada Buddhism or even among Hinduism. Majority Tamils are Hindus. The massacre is considered to be one of the most brutal attacks carried out against religious clerics in the World.
Each year Aranthalawa Massacre is commemorated by a series of special programs. In 2014, to coincide with the 27th anniversary of the massacre, commemorations are to be held in Colombo, Kandy, Ampara and at the place of massacre; Aranthalawa itself.
Throughout the course of the Tamil terrorism in Sri Lanka, the LTTE has carried out a number of similar attacks against Buddhist sites. These include;
- an attack on the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, killing around 146 pilgrims.
- the assassination of the high priest of the famous Dimbulagala Forest monastery, Kitulagama Seelalankara Nayaka Thera, who gave moral support to people living in border villages to fight LTTE intrusions into their villages, eight years after the Aranthalawa Massacre.
- a suicide bombing of the Temple of the Tooth, the sacred Buddhist shrine where the Buddha`s tooth relic is enshrined, which killed 17 worshipers and seriously damaged the temple.
- a suicide bombing of a Buddhist temple in Batticaloa during celebrations of the Vesak holiday, killing 23 people including many children.