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Sri Lankan Govt. orders removal of mosque located at place 'sacred to Buddhists'

Colombo, Mon, 23 Apr 2012 ANI

Colombo, Apr 23 (ANI): The Sri Lankan Government has ordered the removal of a mosque located in the central town of Dambulla, saying it is sacred to the country's majority Buddhists.

The order came two days after a group of nearly 2000 Buddhists, including monks, held a demonstration outside the mosque, which led to the abandoning of its Friday prayers.

The BBC quoted Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, as saying the mosque has been ordered to be relocated to 'a suitable place in the neighbourhood'.

According to the report, this statement by Jayaratne appears to have been issued in a hurry, a day before various parties to this religious dispute were due to meet.

The statement listed four prominent Muslims as present at Sunday's meeting agreeing to relocate the mosque, but according to a weekly Muslim paper, three of them said they were not there.

Buddhist monks in central Sri Lanka had threatened to demolish the mosque next week if the authorities did not act first.

Meanwhile, the chief of the mosque had said that the building was legal and was simply being refurbished. (ANI)

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