All Mosques, Kovils, Churches to be paid and evicted from Buddhist Sacred City – ADC
In a new twist to the Dambulla mosque saga the Secretary of Religious Affairs Ministry in a meeting with officials of the Dambulla Divisional Secretariat held in Dambulla April 24, 2012 discussed an accelerated programme to pay compensation to mosques, kovils and other religious entities to leave the Dambulla Sacred city with immediate effect.
H.S.K.J Bandara the Assistant Divisional Secretary in Dambulla told Lanka Standard that a certain number of places of worship had been paid compensation following the 1982 Gazette notification declaring the area a sacred
Buddhist City. However he was not immediately able to provide this website with numbers or other details of which places of worship received compensation. Asked if the Mosque now under dispute was paid compensation, Mr. Bandara said he did not know. However he said that starting from next week the government would be looking to pay compensation to those who had not been so paid earlier.
Secretary Religious Affairs Ministry when contacted by The Lanka Standard said that this was a matter of serious importance but declined to comment on the matter over the phone. (We will bring you updates as soon as we get them)
Meanwhile even as Chief Incumbent Rangiri Dambulu Rajamaha Viharaya Ven. Inamaluwe Sri Sumangala Thero told the Lanka Standard that “there were no provisions for any religion other than Buddhism to have their own place of worship within the Dambulla Buddhist Sacred City, deeds emerged to prima facie support a case that the mosque was not in fact an illegal structure.
The regulatory argument that the mosque was an illegal structure was floated perhaps to infuse some degree of credibility or reasonableness to the fight although the basis for the Chief incumbent’s argument was weighted more towards religious policy rather than legal premise. In fact it was based on this ideological premise that the Prime Minister and Religious Affairs Minister D.M. Jayaratne had assured the monks he would relocate the mosque within three months”.
In fact the Mahanayake told this website that it was in 1982 that Dambulla town and its suburbs was declared a Buddhist Sacred City through an extraordinary gazette notification. “In the 1982 sacred city plan there was no Muslim mosque within the sacred city although the Muslim community claim that this makeshift mosque was existing since 1962,” he said.
However Ven. Sumangala Thero places blame for the conflict squarely at Land and Land Development Minister Janaka bandara Tennakoon’s feet alleging it was he who lit the fires by provoking the Muslim community into a religious conflict when this issue could have been solved amicably without any issue.
Whatever the truth or falsity of his allegations (See full article elsewhere on this website) the Thero irrelevantly accuses Janaka Bandara Tennakoon of converting to Catholicism after marriage and baptising his son in the Catholic church thus demonstrating that religious bigotry and silly faith based rhetoric is alive and well whether in Sri Lanka or in the USA.
The Thero has also disclaimed that the mosque was existing since 1962, and has challenged the Muslim community to prove that this makeshift prayer room was existing since then.
“That is what Minister Tennakoon has asked the Muslims to say. If so there should be documentary proof. The 1982 sacred city plan does not show any such prayer room in Kandalama nor anywhere else. Many Muslim traders who came to see me after this incident told me hat Minister Tennakoon has obtained money from these rich Muslim traders promising the land right for them to construct a mosque since he is the Minister of Land and Land Development in the Central Government, the Thero alleged.
Meanwhile a concerned citizen Mujeeb Rahaman who was monitoring the developments in Kandalama told Lanka Standard that a mob of over 80 had entered the mosque on Friday April 20 around 12 noon and had damaged it.
“Few lights, fans, windows where the Holy Quran is housed and the Holy Quran have been damaged by the mob. In addition the stage where the prayers are conducted and the water filter too have been broken. We have the transfer deed and all documents to prove that this is not an illegal structure,” Rahaman told Lanka Standard.
We publish the available Deeds and some photos of the damage caused.