This incident had taken place even before the investigations had concluded into the incident where another archaeological site in Vijithapura, believed to be King Elara’s fortress, was also being cleared using a backhoe.
When the Secretary to the No. 493 Vijithapura Civil Security Department Nalin Wijesinghe had gone to the location to investigate, a man in robes at the site had attacked him. Wijesinghe had lodged a complaint with the Ipalogama Police regarding the assault.
Expressing his views Nalin Wijesinghe said, “On May 27 I heard the sound of a backhoe being operated at the King Dutugemunu’s archaeological site. My house is located close to this site and I went there to see what was happening. When I got there I saw a man in robes and another who had brought a backhoe and was clearing the site.
I asked them what they were doing and the man in robes told me that they were cutting a roadway to the monastery, but there are several roadways to get to the monastery. Hence, I got suspicious and asked him if he had legal rights to do this. He then got agitated and asked me what right I had to question him and assaulted me. I have recorded this incident.
This is an archeologically significant site and in recent times many excavations have been done here mainly by outsiders who frequent these sites. Many suspicious characters come here in luxury vehicles. This is an archaeologically significant site and should be preserved for our future generations. It is our responsibility.
Many excavations have been done in this area and there are no more ancient statues that used to be here. I complained to the Ipalogama Police regarding the attack on me by the man in robes. If this continues, we will lose both these archeological sites and it would be a shame. The authorities need to pay greater attention to protecting these ancient sites.
Many excavations around the mountain range is visible and most of the archeological artifacts have been stolen by thieves. There are also many new concrete constructions around these sites that are visible,” he said.
The Ipalogama District Secretariat, Wildlife Department and several other responsible institutions and expected to conduct joint investigations into the incident.