A Fundamental Rights petition filed by civil activists seeking an order directing the authorities to take immediate actions to secure and protect the Vaddunagala Pabbatha Viharaya Archaeological Site in Vavuniya District was yesterday fixed for support by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justice A.H.M.D. Nawaz and Justice Achala Wengappuli directed the petitioners to file the amended caption within two weeks after adding the newly appointed Northern Province Governor to the petition. This petition is to be taken up for support on June 28.

The petitioners, Ven. Galgamuwe Shanthabodhi Thera, Brig. (Rtd.) Athula De Silva, journalist Shenali D. Waduge, businesswoman Jihan Hameed, Nilhan Paul Fernando, and Upali Jayasinghe Bandara, filed this petition through their lawyer, Dharshana Weraduwage.

The Vaddamana Parvatha (Pabbatha) Viharaya Vedikinnarimalai Archaeological Site is located in the Nainayamadu Forest in the district of Vavuniya. The petitioners stated that Vaddamana Pabbatha Viharaya, a Buddhist monastic complex, dates back to the early Anuradhapura era. According to the inscriptions, these caves were gifted (saangika) to the Maha Sanga.

The petitioners stated that this ancient Buddhist monastery has a long history. In 2010, this place was rediscovered and re-identified by the Department of Archaeology, and it was suggested that it be gazetted as an archaeologically protected monument. The petitioners alleged that in 2018, acts of vandalism occurred in this place, where the floor of one of the caves with Brahmi inscriptions was filled with soil brought from outside and levelled. The bricks from the brick stupa were removed, and an image of a god has been inserted.

The petitioners further stated that the actions or inactions of the respondents, including IGP Chandana Wickramaratne, Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles, Senior DIG Vijitha Gunaratne, DIG Ampawila, SSP Chamika Wickremasinghe, and others, are wilful, negligent, and unreasonable and have vehemently violated the fundamental rights of the Buddhist citizenry duly guaranteed under Article 10, Article 12.1, and Article 14 (1) (e) of Sri Lanka’s Constitution.