Monks and residents of Panadura protest demolition of historic bungalow
By Ranjith Padmasiri
The Sunday Times – 19th August 2018
Buddhist monks and Panadura residents are protesting the demolition of a historic bungalow that once belonged to one of its distinguished personalities, Susantha de Fonseka, who was elected to the State Council in 1931 and later served as its Deputy Speaker. A landmark in Panadura, facing the river, the bungalow named “Siri Medura” is nearly 100 years old.
|The way it was: Siri Medura and (inset) Sir Susantha de Fonseka||The demolition in progress|
Leading monk of the Amarapura Chapter, and Chief Incumbent of the Moratuwa Dharma Nikethanaya, Ven. Magalle Nagitha Maha Nayaka Thera is among those who has spoken out against the demolition and, this week, he has written to President Maithripala Sirisena seeking his intervention. “This building is of immense archaeological value and is among the most treasured possessions of the people of Panadura. It is the duty of all Sri Lankans to safeguard such buildings,” the Thera said in the letter.
Susantha de Fonseka entered politics in 1931 winning a seat to the State Council as member for Panadura. He was re-elected in the 1936 general election. He also served as Deputy Speaker in the State Council. A diplomat who served in Burma (now Myanmar) and Japan, Sir Susantha de Fonseka died in 1963.
He had his early education at the then Colombo Academy (Royal College) and went to the UK for his higher education.
The bungalow had been sold by a relative of de Fonseka who inherited it, and the buyer is in the process of demolishing it, a resident of the area who wished to remain anonymous said. Meanwhile, the new owner of the property Tissa Illeperuma said that he purchased the property from Anura De Silva, the grandson of Susantha De Fonseka. “I inqured at the time of purchase if the house was protected by the country’s archaelogy laws and was told it was not. The house hasbeen built in 1923 and will become a protected site only in five years when it becomes 100 years old,” he said.
Update: 26th August 2018