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AG orders arrest of Kurunegala Mayor and others over demolition incident

ECONOMYNEXT – Attorney General Dappula de Livera has directed Acting IGP C D Wickramaratne to obtain warrants for the arrest of five individuals including Kurunegala Mayor Thushara Sanjeewa over the demolition of the purported royal court in Kurunegala.

Along with the mayor, the AG has ordered the arrests of the municipal commissioner, an engineer and two others on the charges under the Antiquities Ordinance and Public Property Act.

There was a national uproar when Mayor Sanjeewa on July 16 ordered the demolition said to be the royal court of King Bhuvenakabahu II claiming that it was in the way of road development.

Sanjeewa took reporters to the site and showed a tile made in 1993, plastic electric conduits, and steel bars in the rubble as proof that the building is not an archaeological site but a more recent building with an unsavoury reputation as had once functioned as a brothel.

Later an expert committee appointed by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to look into the incident said that the perpetrators involved in the incident should be punished under the law.

This archaeological site has been listed under the provisions of the Antiquities Ordinance No. 9 of 1940.

On July 23, the AG obtained an order from the Kurunegala Magistrate’s Court to protect and prevent the access to the demolished historic building site pending investigations.

The prevention order was issued against the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Kurunegala, Municipal Councillors, Municipal Commissioner, and Engineer Municipal Council staff and their representatives.

On July 28, the Kurunegala Magistrate ordered the Mayor of Kurunegala to hand over all documents pertaining to the demolished building to the safe custody of the court. (Colombo/Aug6/2020)

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