By Shaahidah Riza
A Madrasa school at Eluwila, Bandaragama, halted construction of an extension to the building due to threats by Buddhist monks in the area, Attorney-at-Law, Shiraz Noordeen said. The monks have stated that they will launch a protest demonstration campaign similar to that of Aluthgama if the construction were to continue.
This incident took place yesterday. He added that the Divisional Secretary halted the construction succumbing to a protest from some monks in the area who had claimed that the Madrasa would eventually be converted into a mosque. The Madrasa officials had obtained the necessary plan approvals for the extension project. The matter intensified to the extent that the Police got involved, and construction was suspended temporarily.
“About 200 people accompanied about 10 monks and about seven Madrasa trustees went to the Panadura ASP’s office to sort out the issue. Police said the construction could proceed as all the legal documents were in order,” he said. However these monks and some individuals who accompanied them to the Police Station were not happy with this response and therefore were very violent and agitated, Noordeen said, adding that as a result the case was referred to the Panadura Magistrate yesterday.
“When we went to Court we were informed that the Magistrate declined to look in to the matter claiming that the case had no legal basis to it. Hence the case was not filed in Court but was returned to the Police, and the parties were asked to go back to the Police Station. Then we were advised not to proceed with the construction claiming that they could not provide us with security in the event of any untoward incident flaring up because the Buddhist monks have said that they will create another incident as they did in Aluthgama. The trustees informed the Police that they were doing everything within legal parameters and have assured the Police that they have no intention of turning it in to a mosque,” he said.
The Police told Ceylon Today that only a minor incident took place and assured us that the Panadura Police had the situation under control.