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Opposition playing politics over Kurundi Viharaya incident – Akila

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Former Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said that the Opposition is playing politics by turning the archaeological background of the Kurundi Viharaya temple into an ethnic issue.  

He said this while speaking at the press conference held yesterday (14) at the United National Party Headquarters Sirikotha.

Kariyawasam further said that various politicians were seen issuing diverse statements based on the President’s statement regarding archaeological sites. “As always, there is an atempt to do politics based on religion. As the former cabinet minister in charge of archaeology, I think that I should tell the truth about it.

“In the Kurundi Vihare temple issue, there is an opinion that the relevant archaeological area should be demarcated, and the area beyond it should be given for the people for normal use. Archeology should not be viewed from a racial point of view. As the Opposition has no topics to talk about now, they try to drag this.. If this is understood correctly without political bias, the people can reach a decision very easily. The current president is moving forward doing the right things that were never allowed to be done right. Archeology should not be politicised on a communal basis. Actually, the Archeology Ordinance must be amended. Everyone should understand that it is wrong to politicize sensitive issues of the people. Archeology goes hand in hand with Buddhist culture. It should not be racially offensive to others.

People’s lives also should be safeguarded while protecting archaeological sites. That is the international standard in this regard. While protecting the archaeological sites, our attention should be focused on creating a better life for the people. Everywhere in our country, you can see the civilizations around the archaeological sites. We have always taken steps to protect the archaeological sites, both in the North and the South. There are times archeological remains emerge when constructions are carried out and problems arise.

“Through the Central Cultural Fund, we took steps to preserve places of archaeological value using part of the ticket money we received from tourists. Places like Buduruwagala were preserved and turned into archeological sites generating income. We got the ability to turn Sigiriya, which had an income of two million rupees, into a place that earns an income of around ten to 20 million rupees. We suggested that a system should be established to make it possible for those who cannot go to the top of Sigiriya to be lifted up to the venue. We have the ability to further increase the income. Most of the time pensioners visit countries leisurely and spend money. They must be provided facilities to easily watch such sites.

The Central Cultural Fund and Archeology Department are now outdated and a new institution is needed to replace them. New laws must be brought and steps should be taken to adjust them to suit the tourism business and the life of the common people.”


Thursday, June 15, 2023 – 01:30

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