Sat, Apr 21, 2012, 10:01 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.Apr 21, Colombo: Sri Lanka Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, who is also the Buddha Sasana Minister, has denied that he had given approval to construct any unauthorized structures on the premises of the Dambulla Raja Maha Vihara.
Tensions erupted Friday in the North Central Province town of Dambulla when protesters led by the Chief Incumbent of the temple Ven. Inamaluwe Sumangala Thera alleged that the government has taken over 300 acres of land that belonged to the sacred area and given to build places of worship of other religions.
Foreign media reports said the protesters fire-bombed a mosque in the area overnight and some worshippers were trapped inside.
The Prime Minister has said that the controversial structures is not a mosque as some reports said, but a small chamber for worship and it had been in existence for 10 years in the area.
The Premier has questioned why there is a sudden opposition to a place of worship that had been functioning for 10 years in the disputed location.
He further has said that there are numerous such chambers for worship across the country and even in the government offices including the parliament.
He has stressed that if there are such places of worship of other religions within this sacred area, the government would help to relocate those places to suitable areas.
The Prime Minister has said that there were reports of incidents to create rifts among communities and disrupt the national unity by some sections and the protest at Dambulla may be such an incident.
He asked people of all religions to work in harmony without creating rifts.
Meanwhile, the police have ordered the removal of any illegal structures, including the places of worship of other religions from the sacred area before April 23.