Domesticated Elephants' Association (DEA) Chairman Ven. Magalkande Sudantha Thera accompanied by 35 mahouts held a demonstration at the 'Maha Maluwa' of the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy creating a chaotic situation.
The Thera said not only the Buddhists even the foreigners who attend the Kandy Perahera are worried about the reduced number of elephants taking part in the perahera. He urged the President and the Prime Minister to make available a sufficient number of elephants for the historic pageant.
Diyawadana Nilame Pradeep Nilanga Dela and Basnayaka Nilames Gemunu Walisundera, Hemantha Bandara Herath, Gayan Heenkenda and DIG Mahinda Ekanayake spoke to the protesters at the Maha Maluwa and pleaded with monks to stop the protest and laeve the Maluwa peacefully.
"The Kandy Perahera is part of the Buddhist national heritage. Significance of the perahera is lost without a sufficient number of elephants at the perahera. FCID and CID are responsible for this situation. We would be compelled to move out all the mahouts from the perahera if sufficient number of elephants were not provided before the Randoli Perahera," Ven. Sudantha Thera said.
The Diyawadana Nilame pleaded with the monks to give their support to conduct the perahera successfully and to leave the Maha Maluwa.
The Central Province DIG said there is a court order banning demonstrations at the Maha Maluwa and requested the protesters to quit the premises.
Protesters asked for a written assurance from President before ending the protest.
Nalluruwa Rajamaha Vihara Chief Incumbent Ven. Dehiwala Piyananda Thera, Ven. Seru Nuwara Sumanajothi Thera, Ven. Gonaduwe Gnanajeewa Thera and Ven. Handugala Piyarathana Thera were among the prodesters. (J.A.L. Jayasinghe)