The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on ‘Archaeological Heritage Management in the Eastern Province’ is to conserve all archaeology heritage sites in the East irrespective of religion, says Kamal Gunaratne, Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary.
Addressing the PTF at their inaugural meeting, Gunaratne said:
“We have many historical archaeological sites in the Eastern Province and many are under threat due to different reasons today. The Government wants to conserve and restore these sites irrespective of the religion or ethnic group that they belong to as they are national heritage sites.”
The all Sinhala task force was established last week as part of the ongoing Sinhalisation of the North-East. 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.
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”.