Shiv Sena in Mumbai has extended its support to a new Sri Lankan Tamil outfit called Siva Senai, triggering concerns among the mainstream politicians of Sri Lanka that sectarian outfits will reopen wounds of a 20-year-old civil war that ended only in 2009.
The Siva Senai, based out of Vavuniya in the Tamil-dominated northern Lanka, is led by Maravanpulavu Sachithananthan. The party takes its name from Lord Shiva and plans to fight “coercive conversion” from Hinduism to Buddhism, the dominant Sinhalese religion.
Shiva Sena leader Sanjay Raut told News18 that his party extends support to the new Lankan outfit. “Our party is a Hindu party. We support the cause of Hindus all over the World. We support
Siva Senai,” he said.
Sinhalese leaders fear the militant nature of the new Siva Senai could break the status-quo prevailing in Northern Lanka while Tamil leaders are wary that outfits like Senai would split Tamil unity.
The three main players in the Sri Lankan politics – ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party of President Maithripala Sirisena, the United National Party (UNP) of Prime Minister Ranil Wickeremesinghe and the Opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA) – have expressed serious concerns over the birth of Senai and the support it is getting from Hindu right-wing parties and organisations in India.
The new outfit which is also Sri Lanka’s first Hindu right-wing organisation accuses the Lankan government of supporting a “Sinhala – Buddhist Colonisation” to undermine the importance of Hindus. It also accuses the Muslims and Christians of getting huge foreign funding to spread their religion.