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Dewanagala Sacred Land Issue – Agreement Reached Between Parties

Last updated on June 13, 2020

An agreement has been reached between the parties today, 12 June 2020 at a meeting held at the Dewanagala Raja Maha Viharaya regarding the issue of the land that belongs to the Viharaya which has been surfacing time to time ignited by various elements.

The meeting was attended by all the relevant officials. The meeting was organised by the District secretariat of Kegalle and chaired by the additional district secretary Mrs. Nalika Piyasena.

It was agreed here by the parties concerned including Venerable Madirigiriye Punyasaara thero, the people of the area and residents to remeasure the land belonging to the Dewanagala Raja Maha Viharaya, which is said to be approximately 85 Acres by the Survey Department of Sri Lanka.

The Commissioner General of Buddhist Affairs Mr. Sunanda Kariyapperuma said, that a land area of approximately 85 acres belongs to the Dewanagala Raja Maha Viharaya and this should be measured and properly allocated. However, he stressed about the fact that in such an instance of remeasurement, there will not be any injustice served to those who live in those lands legally with proper documents or otherwise.

He added that if any land has been given away to people whether its Sinhala, Muslim or any other race in accordance with the Vihara, Dewalaya and Village Act of 1932 either free of charge or through other official means, they will be given due consideration during this remeasurement exercise.

He also said that if any resident has the ownership deed in any other means, they will also be duly considered.

Mr. Ratnayake, OIC of the Mawanella Police Station also expressed his opinion and stressed the fact that this is a golden opportunity to resolve this years old issue and requested all parties to cooperate to amicably resolve the issue.

Commenting about the Meeting, Mr. Faizal Maharoof said, “All parties have agreed to start to commence the remeasurement of the 85 Acres of land that belongs to the Dewanagala Raja Maha Viharaya. The extent of this 85 Acres of Land as to where it is located whether it is in the Katugahawatta Area or Ruwandeniya Area will be determined after the official survey is completed”

He further said that, :the media identification of these as Muslim occupied subjective lands is a criminal offence”. He further said that “Only Venerable Punyasaara Thero was the only party agreed on behalf of the Sinhalese Community while all others were silent on the matter”.

He stressed about the fact that the Muslim Community agreed for the remeasurement after the clear questioning of the objectives.

Many issues and questions by the land residents, the general public including the muslim community representatives were raised and adequately answered during the meeting. The Secretary of the Katugahawatta Masjid Mr. M.H. Mohamed promised to fully cooperate with the authorities to do a legal remeasurement and the full assistance of the Muslim Community.

Originally reported by Ameer Hussain in Sinhala

Edited and republished in English by Mohammed Lafir

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