The Sri Lankan defence ministry announced that troops have begun the ‘restoration’ of yet another Sinhala Buddhist stupa in the Eastern province this week, an area that has come under intense Sinhalisation efforts in recent years.
Sri Lanka’s defence secretary Kamal Gunaratne, who also heads the country’s “Archaeological Heritage Management Presidential Task Force’ (PTF) for Eastern Province”, inaugurated the new Buddhist project, calling the Neelagiriseya stupa “a sacred religious site from where omniscient sacred relics” were located.
The Sri Lankan air force is undertaking the project, “under the directives of the Defence Secretary”, “under the guidance” of Sinhala Buddhist monks and “with the instructions of the Department of Archaeology,” according to an official military website.
The military went on to claim it was undertaking this Sinhala Buddhist project in Amparai, as the stupa had been “unattended and abandoned for over three decades due to the clutches of terrorists and their activities”.
Several senior military officials accompanied Sinhala Buddhist monks at the inauguration ceremony.
The project is the latest in a series of Sinhalisation projects that have targeted the East of the Tamil homeland.