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Locals concerned as Sri Lankan army initiates efforts to establish Buddhist vihara inside Jaffna Fort

Jaffna residents have been concerned by reports that the Sri Lankan army is taking steps to erect a Buddhist Vihara under a sacred fig tree in the centre of Jaffna Fort.

The tree is by an army base which locals have long called to be removed, and for the fort - a historical and touristic site - to be returned to civilian use.

Troops had established a small shrine under the tree and had begun digging trenches to build a larger temple but were stopped by local employees of the Sri Lankan archaeology department.

“It is now a question of whether the archaeology department will do its job and protect this historical site or whether like other places they will support the building of an anachronistic Buddhist shrine where there shouldn’t be any,” a local resident said.