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COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, March 26, 2001: Sri Lankan Buddhists say they will build replicas of two ancient Buddha statues destroyed earlier this month by Afghanistan's Taleban rulers. The private Maha Bodhi Society said it was hoping to receive public donations to create the replicas of the giant statues carved from a cliff face in central Bamiyan. The organisation said it would initially build a scaled down version of the larger statue, which was 51 metres (170 feet) tall, so that succeeding generations would know what it looked like. Sri Lanka, where Buddhism is the major religion, had earlier offered to finance an international operation to save the statues, which were more than 1,500 years old. After they were destroyed, the Sri Lankan government offered to buy the rubble and any remains.