Veddas  or Wanniyalaetto of Sri Lanka

Wanniyalaeto to suspend offering bee honey to Temple of Tooth

Uruwarige Wanniyala Aththo
Uruwarige Wanniyala Aththo, Chief of the Dambana Wanniyala Aththo community

Aug 20, Colombo: The leader of Sri Lanka's indigenous 'Vedda' community, Uruwarige Wanniyala Aththo today announced that his community would suspend the traditional offering of bee honey to the Temple of Tooth during the season of cultural pageant now underway.

The indigenous community has decided to avoid the offering in protest of officials of the Wild Life Department for arresting four Vedda people who entered into the Maduraoya forest reserve to collect bee honey. The four were produced in the Mahiyanganaya court and were bailed out. The honey they collected was taken into the custody of the courts as production for the case.

The Vedda community's offering of bee honey to the Temple of Tooth is a tradition that goes back to several centuries. The indigenous community is facing the conflicts caused by rapid social change.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources issuing a statement said that the Wildlife officials were not disrupting the lives of the indigenous people but arrested four people who entered into the forest reserve with guns. The statement said that the Vedda people could carry their traditional arms.

Courtesy: ColomboPage News Desk of 20 August 2007

See also: The Sunday Times (Colombo) article of 18 November 2007