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Avukana Buddha statue robing: Warning given by Archaeology Dept.

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Zonal Archaeology Officers in an on-site inspection said there was no physical damage to the historical Avukana Buddha statue or the surrounding archaeological items due to dressing of the historic Statue with a saffron robe last Poya day.

The Department of Archaeology has informed the Viharadhipathi Thera of Avukana Rajamaha Viharaya with a warning that if these types of actions are done using statues  or any other items of historical and archaeological value, they must get permission in writing from the Director General of Archaeology, otherwise they will be dealt with according to the law.

A complaint has been filed at the Galnawa Police Station in a statement signed by the Acting Director General of Archaeology, Nishanthi Jayasinghe regarding the incident, Department of Archaeology stated.

A few days ago, social media published news about the Avukana Buddha statue being dressed with a saffron robe with photos, and it was widely discussed in the society. The Minister of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs, Vidura Wickremanayake ordered an immediate systematic probe to be carried out into the incident.

A very urgent report had been called from the Anuradhapura Assistant Director of Archaeology related to the news. Accordingly, an on-site inspection of the Buddha statue has been carried out and a statement has been obtained from the Viharadhipathi Thera of Avukana Rajamaha Viharaya regarding the related incident.

The Viharadhipathi has said that he arranged to put a saffron robe on the statue for a few hours and conduct pooja for the Katina festival held annually in the temple. He has further said that the dressing of the statue took place with his knowledge and was not done with the intention of harming the Buddha statue or any other archaeological monuments in any way.

The Thera has also said that he was not able to inform the Department of Archaeology about the dressing of a robe on the Avukana Buddha statue for this Katina Pooja and also admitted that it was not informed due to being unaware about it.

(dailynews)

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