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President’s inaction over Kurunegala incident shows his tacit approval, says Ajith P Perera

UNP MPs S M Marikkar, Ajith P Perera and Niroshan Perera

ECONOMYNEXT – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s inaction over the controversial demolition of the purported royal court in Kurunegala shows his tacit approval of it, former parliamentarian Ajith P Perera said.

As commander in chief, he said, Rajapaksa must inquire the Inspector General of Police (IGP) about delays in arresting those responsible for the allegedly unlawful demolition.

The archaeological site in question is said to be a king’s court or royal assembly hall purportedly built during the reign of King Buvanekabahu II in Kurunegala. A section of the hall was bulldozed on July 16 allegedly on the orders of Kurunegala Mayor Thushara Sanjeewa.

Defending the move, Sanjeewa told reporters last week that the demolished building was not an archaeological site but a hotel named Buwaneka built-in 1993. The “hotel” was an illegal construction, so it had to be torn down, Sanjeewa was quoted as saying.

Ex-MP Perera claimed that the President has no interest in taking any action as it is clear that he approves Sanjeewa’s actions, adding that the mayor is under the protection of the President, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Cabinet Minister Johnston Fernando.

Perera further said the Director General of Archaeology is under a lot of stress due to government inaction against the perpetrators, and is himself “spineless” to take direction against the Kurunegala mayor.

However, speaking to the media yesterday, Archaeology DG Dr Senarath Dissanayake said there is no written evidence to prove that the building demolished in Kurunegala was definitely the royal court of King Buwanekabahu II.

Dissanayake said there is a legend that it has a connection to the 13th century king, but there is no written record of it in the Mahavansa.

“All parties involved in this incident must be identified – by the police, not by me. This seems to point to a more complex chain of events. We need to identify everyone responsible. At first we thought it was one or two individuals, but I’ve been reliably informed of hidden motives behind this. I can’t talk about it beyond that,” said Dissanayake. (Colombo, July 22, 2020)

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