Warrant issued to arrest Kurunegala Mayor

The Kurunegala Magistrate today issued arrest warrants on the Kurunegala Mayor and four others in the case over the destruction of an ancient monument in Kurunegala.

The arrest warrant was issued on an application submitted by Attorney General (AG) Dappula de Livera yesterday.

The AG instructed Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) C.D. Wickremeratne to obtain a warrant from Court, arrest and produce the Mayor of Kurunegala Thushara Sanjeeva Witharana, Municipal Commissioner Nishantha Thilakaratne, Municipal Engineer Chaminda Bandara Adikari, Acting Director for the removal of illegal constructions Ilaludeen Zulfika, and operator of the Bako machine used for the demolition Lakshman Priyantha.

The Coordinating Officer to the AG State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne said facts presented in Courts have revealed that the Mayor of Kurunegala Thushara Snjeeva Witharana and Municipal Commissioner Nishantha Thilakaratne were repeatedly informed on the value of the historical building by the Department of Archaeology on previous occasions, she said.

The King’s Court of King Bhuvanaikabahu II in Kurunegala was allegedly demolished on 18 July by the Mayor of Kurunegala and officials from the Urban Development Authority disregarding the warnings of the Archaeology Department.

The 13th Century King’s Court (dating back to the Kurunegala / Yapahuwa Kingdom Era) falls under the supervision of the Department of Archaeology.

Following the demolition, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed a 5 member expert committee, headed by Director-General of Archaeology Professor Senarath Dissanayake.

The preliminary report of the committee appointed to investigate the demolition was handed over to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on 22 July, consisting of five proposals, including to institute legal action against those responsible for the demolition.

Thereafter, Attorney General (AG) Dappula de Livera obtained an order from the Kurunegala Magistrate’s Court against the Deputy Mayor of Kurunegala, Municipal Councillors, Commissioner, and Municipal Council staff and their representatives to protect and prevent access to the site of the demolished building.

A writ application too was filed at the Court of Appeal seeking the arrest of the Mayor of Kurunegala over the demolition. (Colombo Gazette)

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