(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Defense Secretary Major General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne on the instructions of President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has ordered the Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Piyal de Silva, to immediately establish a naval contingent to protect the Pottuvil Muhudu Maha Vihara temple and its land.
The Defense Secretary said the naval contingent would be deployed to the temple from today (15) to stop the forcible acquisition of land belonging to the temple by other parties.
A top-level security delegation, led by Secretary Defense on Thursday visited the ancient Muhudu Maha Viharaya in Pottuvil where the encroachment issue has turned more pressing on a request made by the Governor of the Eastern Province Mrs. Anuradha Yahampath to inquire into the various clashes occurring over the ownership and encroachment of the temple’s land.
It has been revealed that 72 acres of land belongs to the Maha Viharaya, but only 14 acres remain at present.
The Defense Secretary pointed out that steps would be taken to reclaim all the lands belonging to the temple and that no one would be allowed to take away a single piece of sand from the temple.
The Defense Secretary also advised the Navy and the Police to work together to provide maximum security to the place in order to ascertain no more encroachment is possible in future.
The Defense Secretary said he will meet with the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Governor Anuradha Yahampath, next week.
Acting Chief of Defense Staff and Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Piyal de Silva and Acting Inspector General of Police Chandana Wickramaratne were accompanied the Defense Secretary.