If those who caused the explosion at the Dalada Maligawa were called terrorists, the label should not change when it comes to those who continue to plunder temples with lesser known names. Breaking into places of worship and spiriting away the relics is nothing short of treachery.
The massive robbery at the Colombo National Museum proved beyond doubt that even the heart of the capital city was not safe enough for the priceless artifacts. To this date, the perpetrators are still in the open.
Last week, an incident was reported from Wilachchiya, where a group of residents captured a few STF personnel who were allegedly excavating a tank bund.
A national daily yesterday went on to report that, the Urna Roma Dhatu (golden hair relic) of the Buddha statue of a temple in Kandy, was stolen on the Vesak Full Moon Poya Day.
The list has no end.
Those who raised cries and pulled crowds against the mosque in the vicinity of the Dambulla historic temple, let go of these sacrilegious acts without a whimper of protest. It is a question worth pursuing as to why the so-called devotees do not see this as a valid reason to raise their voices demanding prompt action from the authorities who are responsible for the maintenance of the historic places. Isn’t this trend grave enough to deserve immediate remedy?
No doubt, the element of ‘nationalism’ in the nationalist label is fast wearing thin. However, a nation that plays the statue when its history is being plundered, is not heading for a bright future; for, those who do not preserve their past glories, do not know how to build their tomorrow. So, long as these hypocrisies stay rooted, the treasure-hunters will be dancing on the graves of the past rulers who once made this country a paradise in Asia.
It may be true that, development projects always take the precedence in a country’s list of priorities. However, a government cannot simply ignore the magnitude of the damage caused by the treasure-hunters nor should it let the disastrous trend continue until the last Buddha Statue is damaged and the relics are spirited away. Their lethargy in busting such crimes ought not to be a blessing to the perpetrators to continue vandalising the places of historic significance.
A heritage is something that does not belong to one particular class or creed, be it a Buddhist place of worship or that of the Hindus, it is part of the culture that shapes us to be Sri Lankan.
It is easy to blame everything on the international conspiracies- however, every bit of this one is made at home!