FOUR SAMANERAS LOST IN THE JUNGLE

Published : 8:50 am  November 23, 2015 | No comments so far |  |  (708) reads | 

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BY KURULU KOOJANA KARIYAKARAWANA AND K G KARUNARATNE

A joint search operation was in progress by the police, army and Special Task Force after four Samaneras (novice monks), aged 11 to 13 years, residing in a temple in Aralaganwila failed to return after going into the jungle. The four Samaneras attached to Dananjaya Raja Maha Viharaya in Kandegama had reportedly left the temple around 11.00am yesterday while its chief incumbent was away.

The chief incumbent who returned to the Viharaya at about 6.00pm had learnt that the four novice monks were missing, Police Spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said. The Thera had immediately called 119, the Police Emergency Service. Police and the villagers had then begun to look for the young monks.

The monks have been identified as Kandegama Vijaya Wanshalankara (12), Wanathamulle Suneetha Wanshalankara (13), Kandegama Sumana Wanshalankara (13) and Kandegama Sunanda Wanshalankara (11). SSP (Polonnaruwa Division) Laksiri Wijesena told Daily Mirror that the monks were believed to have entered the dense forest behind the Viharaya that has a path leading to a tall hill some distance away.

The peak of the hill is known to have been a refuge for hermits in olden times and has a complex system of caves within it. Police believe the Samaneras may have been unable to find their way back. The jungle is infested with wild elephants and other animals. The SSP said several teams from the Aralaganwila Police, backed by an army unit and an STF unit had launched a search operation, with experienced villagers as guides on the jungle routes. The search was in progress at the time of going to press.