Up to 2,000 sites in the Eastern province are subject to 'archaeological' examination says Ellawala Medhananda, a Presidential Task Force (PTF) for Archaeological Heritage Management member.
The Buddhist monk stated that preparations have begun to 'examine' the 2,000 'archaeological' sites, including forests, across Amparai, Batticaloa and Trincomalee. He further stated that if Buddhist artefacts are found at Koneswaram Temple, they should be protected.
Last month, Sri Lankan president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, announced an all Sinhala task force, which includes Buddhist monks and the head of the Derana media network, to “preserve the historical heritage of Sri Lanka” in the Eastern province.
The Eastern province, which has been claimed by the Tamil people as being historically inhabited by Tamils, has come under decades of intense Sinhalisation and colonisation from state sponsored settlement schemes. In recent years, the state has used the guise of ‘archaeology’ to take over vast areas of lands in the North-East, and mark them as ‘Buddhist sites’.
Tamils have also voiced fears about further appropriation of land by the state through the task force, as the gazette announced the body would be able to “identify the extent of land that should be allocated for such archaeological sites and take necessary measures to allocate them properly and legally.”