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AG obtains court order to prevent access to demolished historic building

Attorney General Dappula de Livera has obtained an order from Kurunegala Magistrate’s Court to protect and prevent the access to the demolished historic building site pending investigations, says the AG’s Coordinating Officer State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne.

The building, also known as the Buwaneka Hotel, dates back to the 13th century and is presumed to be the assembly hall used by the contemporary rulers.

On July 16th, the Mayor of Kurunegala had demolished the said building for a road development project. He had stated that the Road Development Authority (RDA) had given its approval for the demolition.

The Department of Archaeology then filed a complaint claiming that the building demolished by the Kurunegala Mayor is a 13-th century King’s Court.

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

A five-member committee was then formed by the Secretary to the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Cultural and Religious Affairs, under the directives of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to look into the incident.

Chaired by Director-General of the Department of Archaeology Prof. Senarath Dissanayake, the committee consists of Kurunegala District Secretary R.M.R. Rathnayake, Archaeologist Prof. T.G. Kulatunga, Deputy Director of Archaeology at the Ministry of Cultural Affairs Archaeologist Prasad Ranasinghe and Director (Development) of the Central Cultural Fund Architect Sumedha Matota.

The committee of experts had handed over its interim report to the Premier on Wednesday (22).

In its report, the committee had stressed that legal action must be taken against those demolished the building in question and necessary provisions for preservation of this building should be obtained from the institutions or persons responsible for the demolition.

The Attorney General in the meantime advised the Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) to carry out further comprehensive investigations into the demolition of the this building of archaeological value, following consultation with the Police and the Director General of Archaeology.