Archaeologists enter Omanthai statue dispute

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 07 June 2005, 18:08 GMT]
The controversy over the Buddha statue installed by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in the historic Pillaiyar Temple premises in Omanthai, a strategic point located at the southern border of LTTE held Vanni region, took a perplexing turn when a group of three archaeologists visited the site on the direction of Sri Lanka government authorities in Colombo to investigate "archaeological findings" in the area. The group was given police protection, sources said.

Earlier the SLA and police officials who visited the site along with Vanni district TNA parliamentarians had given an assurance that they will take action to remove the statue from the Hindu temple premises. The statue still remains in the hindu temple premises, sources said.

"Although the Buddha statue was installed at the site in recent times, the stones and other findings appear to belong to Anuradhapura-Polonnaruwa period. We do not know how these artifacts came to this site," one of the archaeologists said.

Researchers spoke to several Omanthai residents, sources said.

A stone scripture found at the site was written in Sinhala language.

Residents told the researchers that stones laid along the road leading to the Temple were found in the temple premises.

However, researchers said they could determine the age of stones only if these were dug up from the ground, sources said.

Meanwhile, the controversial Buddha statue in the temple was removed mysteriously two days ago and was later recovered in a shrub jungle nearby. The statue has been reinstalled in the same place by the SLA, sources said.

 

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