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Sri Lankan president discusses protecting ‘historical sites’ with BBS

Photograph: Daily Ceylon

Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena met with senior government ministers and Buddhists monks in Colombo this week, including with the head of the extremist Bodu Bala Sena organisation, to discuss the protection of “historical places with great archaeological value”.

The meeting, at the President’s Official Residence on Thursday, discussed “in detail” a plan to “implement a accelerated programme to ascertain the insecure and vulnerable sites rich with archaeological value and to name those sites as archaeological reserves”. See more from the President's Media Division here.

Archaeology has been repeatedly deployed by the Sri Lankan government to take control of areas of land in the North-East. Last year, a mosque was set to be demolished following long-running protests from Sinhala Buddhist groups, after a government appointed committee found it sat on a Buddhist archaeological site.

BBS has come under increased controversy this month as a mob of Sinhala Buddhist monks from the organisation with lion flags attempted to enter the town, despite the local Magistrate prohibiting their presence. However, monks from the extremist organisation met with Sri Lanka’s justice minister in the North-East on Wednesday this week.