A church in Madu destroyed, dreaded stage of ethnic cleansing, says TNA MP

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 08 April 2008, 13:03 GMT]
The Sacred Heart Church of the Madu Shrine complex has been destroyed in SLA shelling after the priests had taken away the image of Our Lady of Madu last Thursday, reveal the photos taken by K. Baskaran, a photographer who visited the Madu church on Sunday. "Any desecration of Madu is likely to be understood as an effort of the Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism to erase out the symbols of other religions and thus serving a spiritual blow which is the most dreaded stage in the process of ethnic cleansing," Vanni District Parliamentarian Selvam Adaikkalanathan told TamilNet Tuesday.

Selvam Adaikkalanathan
Selvam Adaikkalanathan [Library Photo]
Prayer Hall inside the Sacred Heart Church [Photo: Eezhanaatham daily]
"The social and cultural formation of Tamil Christianity, especially the Tamil Catholicism, is about 500-years old. Madu Church is the foremost symbol of this phenomenon. It is also looked upon with the same feeling by the Sinhala Catholicism of the western coast which was once part of the Tamil Catholic identity," the MP, who is a catholic hailing from Vidaththaltheevu in Mannaar told TamilNet.

This is the second time the Sacred Heart Chapel comes under SLA attack, the MP said.

9 years ago, on 20 November 1999, Sri Lanka Army (SLA) troops, numbering around 300, who had taken up positions in the environs of Madu church allegedly fired shells from their tanks, killing 33 Tami refugees on the spot inside the Sacred Heart Chapel. More than 60 IDPs were wounded. Four of the victims died later at the hospital and 12 of the killed were children below 18. Around 3000 IDPs had taken refuge in the precincts of Madu shrine at that time.

Two months ago, on 29 January 2008, 20 civilians including 11 school children were killed when Sri Lanka Army Deep Penetration Unit (DPU) triggered a Claymore mine targeting a civilian bus close to the Madu shrine.

The statue of Sacred Heart damaged in SLA shelling [Photo: Eezhanaatham daily]
Sacred Heart Church attached to the Madu Shrine [Photo: Eezhanaatham daily]



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