Sri Lanka's cultural custodians blast historical sites for treasure hunting

(September 22, 2010, Colombo - Lanka PolityNine persons including the Assistant Superintendent of Police of Vakarai were arrested by police when they were fleeing after attempting treasure hunting in Polonnaruwa.

The group had been treasure hunting in a place close to Siripura temple of Polonnaruwa in the night of 20th. The villagers that came to know about the crime, sounded the bell of the temple and summoned people. They kept the group surrounded and informed police.

The suspects that were armed with a revolver threatened the villagers and fled in a van. Police apprehended the van with the group later. Equipment used in the treasure hunting were also arrested.

The arrested suspects included seven police officers including the ASP and two civilians.

A week ago, police produced a Buddhist monk before Mathale magistrate for attempted treasure hunting in a historical site.

The Buddhist monk and his accomplice, a businessman, had blasted a rock using dynamite, police said.

The land in which treasure hunting took place is a fortress belonged to colonial period. It is called Fort Macdoval and belongs to Mathale Sambuddha Jayanthi Sangamaya.

The Buddhist monk was released on personal bail of Rs. 100,000.

Treasure hunting is often reported around the country and people who want to become instantly rich believe that the ancient kings have hidden unbelievable amounts of wealth in unbelievable places like inside the rocks.

A spokesman of the Archeological Department said that this belief was wrong and it had led to vandalism and destruction for valuable historical and cultural property.

It seems that the majority of these treasure hunting cultural vandalists are in some way the should be custodians of the historical and cultural values.

There is a Sinhala saying meaning what if a farmer can do when the field fence and borders. (Wetath niyarath goyam ka nam kata kiyamida e amaruwa?)

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