Mannar mass graves: Excavations to continue | Sunday Observer

Mannar mass graves: Excavations to continue

The ongoing excavations at the Mannar mass graves will not be affected despite his excavation permit not being renewed, says Prof. Raj Somadeva. “The excavations are being done on a Court order and therefore, I can continue to be involved in the process,” he clarified. While the Department of Archaeology has refused to renew his excavation permit, Somadeva, however, denied reports that the decision had any connection to his excavation work at the mass grave site in Mannar town. There have been widespread reports that the Professor will have to refrain from conducting excavations at the mass grave after being denied the renewal of his excavation licence.

Clarifying the situation, Somadeva said he had attempted to renew his permit several months ago and that it was denied by the Department at the time. “It was denied despite the fact I submitted the excavation reports to the Department,” he said. However, when contacted by the Sunday Observer, Director General of the Department of Archaeology, Prof. P.B. Mandawala confirmed that Somadeva does not need the Department’s excavation licence to work at the Mannar mass grave site. Explaining as to why the permit was denied, Mandawala said Somadeva was not singled out in the Department’s decision. “Many had applied for excavation permits but were denied as they had not presented the recovered artefacts or the research reports to the Department as required,” he said. “Therefore, we decided to take a strict decision not to renew their permits,” Mandawala added.