Muslims near a historic mosque by Trincomalee have accused the Sri Lankan army of demolishing the mosque, which was already in a dilapidated condition due to lack of renovation.
The mosque, now encompassed within the military's High Security Zone, is believed to be over 400 years old, say locals.
The army denies demolishing the mosque, which they say was destroyed due to heavy rains and winds.
When asked by the Eastern Province Chief Minister, Najeeb Abdul Majeed, if locals could pray in the mosque if it were rebuilt and renovated, the army reportedly told him they could not.
“As the mosque is within the HSZ, currently there are no chances for outsiders to enter there or to release the mosque," a military official told the Chief Minister, the Uthayan reports.