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Sri Lanka temple tackles reconciliation amid fresh fears of fighting

Published on May 4, 2014 1:15 PM
 
In this photograph taken on March 7, 2014 a Hindu priest holds a lit coconut oil lamp in front of statues of Prince Vijaya (centre) and demon Princess Kuveni (right) at the Sri Subramaniam temple in the southern town of Matara. At a temple in the heart of Sri Lanka's Sinhalese south, an unusual attempt at reconciliation is underway after decades of ethnic bloodshed, even as the government warns of a return to war. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

MATARA, Sri Lanka (AFP) - At a temple in the heart of Sri Lanka's Sinhalese south, an unusual attempt at reconciliation is underway after decades of ethnic bloodshed, even as the government warns of fresh fighting.

Inside the white-washed temple, Hindu priests watch over metres-high statues of an estranged couple brought together to lift an age-old curse many blame for Sri Lanka's conflict that claimed tens of thousands of lives.

"The country will never go back to war," priest Mani Srinivasa told AFP of the new spiritual effort at the temple in Matara, mainly used by the minority Tamil community, who are predominantly Hindus.

The temple was destroyed during violence 30 years ago between ethnic majority Sinhalese, who are mostly Buddhists, and Tamils - but later rebuilt with the help of both communities.

 
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