Zonal archaeology officers in an on-site inspection said there was no physical damage to the historical Avukana Buddha statue or the surrounding archaeological items due to the dressing of the historic Statue with a saffron robe last full moon day.
The Department of Archaeology has issued a warning to the chief incumbent of Avukana Rajamaha Vihara that if these types of actions are done using statues or any other items of historical and archaeological value, prior permission in writing should be obtained from the director general of archaeology.
Otherwise, they will be dealt with in accordance with the law.
A complaint has been filed at the Galnewa police in a statement signed by the acting director general of archaeology, Nishanthi Jayasinghe regarding the incident.
A few days ago, social media published news about the Avukana Buddha statue being dressed with a saffron robe with photos, and it was widely discussed in the society.
Minister of Buddha Sasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs, Vidura Wickremanayake ordered an immediate systematic probe to be carried out into the incident.
An urgent report had been called from the Anuradhapura assistant director of archaeology.
Accordingly, an on-site inspection of the Buddha statue has been carried out and a statement obtained from the temple’s chief incumbent.
The chief incumbent has said that he arranged to put a saffron robe on the statue for a few hours and conduct pooja for the Katina festival held annually in the temple.
He has further said that the dressing of the statue took place with his knowledge and was not done with the intention of harming the Buddha statue or any other archaeological monuments in any way.
The Thera has also said that he was not able to inform the department of archaeology about the dressing of a robe on the Avukana Buddha statue for this Katina Pooja and also admitted that he was unaware of the necessity to inform authorities.