Ministry in Sri-Lanka orders mosque and Hindu temple removal
Hardline Buddhists win battle to remove other religions from sacred site in Dambulla
Protesters gathered near a mosque in Dambulla are blocked by police from entering the compound
The government yesterday ordered the removal of a mosque and Hindu temple from a sacred Buddhist area following the attempted storming and fire-bombing of the Muslim site on Friday.
The Ministry of Buddhist and Religious Affairs announced the decision following a meeting between officials from the Urban Development Authority, the defense ministry and hardline Buddhist monks from the town of Dambulla where the sacred area is located.
“A decision to establish a sacred city within six months and remove all unauthorized places has been taken,” said Venerable Inamaluwe Sri Sumangala Thero, the head monk at Dambulla temple.
“This is a big victory as the problem has dragged on for the last 30 years,” he said.
He warned the government to honor the decision or face public protests after saying promises to remove the mosque and Hindu temple in the past were always broken.
The hardline monk led a mob of over 1,000 people on Friday in an attempt to demolish the mosque.
He said the decision of the prime minister as the minister of religious affairs is final and that the mosque and Hindu temple have to be relocated.
Muslims say the mosque was built legally and had been established for 50 years, long before the government declared the area a sacred site.
They accused hardline Buddhists of trying to wreck peaceful coexistence among communities.