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Sithulpawwa treasure hunt: All suspects arrested

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Park and other religious places in Sithulpawwa, Tissamaharama and Kirinda areas, and another 23- year old youth from Debarawewa in Tissamaharama were among the suspects arrested. Meanwhile, on the directive of the Archaeology Department, Senior Prof. Anura Manathunga who made a spot inquiry on the stolen artifacts at the Kuda Sithulpawwa temple site, appointed a special committee to investigate the incident. The committee will be assisted by

Tissamaharama and Kirinda Police divisions.

According to Prof. Manathunga, the details of the ancient artifacts were not known to anybody since they were enshrined inside the Dagoba. A senior Army official who was providing security to the main Sithulpawwa Raja Maha Viharaya at the time of the incident said he saw

one treasure hunter roaming the vicinity of the Kuda Sithulpawwa temple area and took him into custody after interrogating.

“Although the remaining four suspects had fled the place leaving their belongings on hearing the arrest of a person, the next day all were arrested on vital information given by the arrested treasure hunter,” he said. History reveals that the main Raja Maha Viharaya and the Kuda Sithulpawwa temple was built during the era of King Kawantissa and both temples are located close to the Yala National Safari Park and thousands of local and foreign tourists visit both temples every year. Prof. Manathunga said treasure hunters had damaged a portion of the Dagoba, taken away the artifacts and plastered the damaged area thereafter. A special Police team is conducting investigations.

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