Need more dialogues on registering new places of worship – Buddhist Advisory Council

The Maha Sangha of the Presidential Buddhist Advisory Council pointed out that it is important to hold further discussions before reaching a definite conclusion regarding the registration of new places of worship.

The Buddhist Advisory Council expressed these views during a meeting convened at the Presidential Secretariat on Friday (Feb. 18) for the 13th time.

There was a lengthy discussion on the construction and maintenance of new places of worship, the conduct of Sunday Dhamma Schools, regarding the “Vihara and Devalagam Act”, the surveying of lands owned by the Department of Archaeology in the North and East and the amendment of the Archaeological Ordinance.

Among the topics taken up for discussion were the procedures to be followed in respect of each religion that should be taken into consideration separately in the registration of new places of worship.

Special attention was paid to allow the registration of Buddhist temples on the recommendation of the Mahanayake Thera of the relevant sect and the Registrar of the Regional Sasanarakshaka Bala Mandalaya.

The Maha Sangha said the registration of temples centred on sites with artefacts should be done under the recommendation and supervision of the Department of Archaeology.

The decision taken so far regarding the amendment of the Archaeological Ordinance was reviewed and Commissioner General of Archaeology, Anura Manatunga said that the Act could be presented to Parliament in the next few months.

A total of 484 requests have been received for surveying of archaeological sites in the Eastern Province. Surveying of 64 of them have been completed and plans are being prepared for 22 sites, said Surveyor General Ariyaratne Dissanayake.

Members of the Buddhist Advisory Council, State Minister Vidura Wickremanayake, Secretary to the President Gamini Senarath, Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Secretaries to Ministries and Government Officials were also present. – ada derana

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