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Indian girl detained in Sri Lanka for Buddha image on dress

19 July 2017 11:15 am - 32     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Sri Lanka police on Monday detained and questioned an Indian tourist who was wearing a dress with a print of the Buddha on it, The Hindu reported.

Wearing the image of the Buddha remains a sensitive matter in the island where a majority practise Buddhism. In 2014, a British tourist was deported for sporting a tattoo of the Buddha on her arm.

The 26-year-old tourist was on the island on a family holiday at a resort near Bentota, along the southern coast of Sri Lanka. Before the group’s departure from Colombo on Monday, some of them were shopping at an upmarket mall in the capital.

“One of my nephews rushed to the store next door and bought a T-shirt, so my niece could wear it over the dress. But the police did not allow her to do that. They asked her to come to the police station with them,” Ms. Deepam told The Hindu over telephone, upon her return to Chennai.

Insisting that she would accompany her niece, Ms. Deepam went to the police station, where they were made to sign a statement and apologise, before being allowed to proceed to the airport for departure.

When contacted, the police said the family was let off with a warning. “Wearing such a print is an offence according to the penal code. It is not just about the Buddha, wearing prints of deities of any religion is considered offensive,” police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara told The Hindu. However, senior lawyer J.C. Weliamuna said: “Only defaming a religion is a criminal offence in Sri Lanka, wearing a normal print of the Buddha does not amount to that. This is ridiculous.”

  Comments - 32

  • gamini Wednesday, 19 July 2017 11:39 AM

    does the police know the law or the lawyer knows the law.Some one needs training on the law of the country very badly

    Roman Wednesday, 19 July 2017 03:06 PM

    Happens, when the law and order minister himself doesn't have a clue about either law or order!

    ANTON Wednesday, 19 July 2017 11:48 AM


    Ronnie Bugger Thursday, 20 July 2017 08:58 AM

    That's a good one. Anyway, it says the image wad that of the Buddha. Well, that's enough to go by and one is amazed that the tourist was set free after recording an apology, knowing the mentality of the Police.

    HC Ong Monday, 24 July 2017 05:03 PM

    You See Many Statues Of Buddha In Colombo And Other Parts Of Sri Lanka ??

    Sharon Wednesday, 19 July 2017 11:59 AM

    Tourist should know the destinations they are travelling better. Police did their job.

    Ali Hu Kai Wednesday, 19 July 2017 03:27 PM

    Then its the fault of our Tourist Board for not educating the Travel Agents!

    Hu Kala Ha Maraie Thursday, 20 July 2017 09:04 AM

    Simple Ban the tourist shops from selling this type of garment.

    Dulan Wednesday, 19 July 2017 12:00 PM

    This type of high handed Police behavior is ridiculous . Then ban businessmen, politicians, teachers, veda mahattayas etc wearing the robe

    Darshana Friday, 21 July 2017 09:39 PM

    Better not display your ignorance.

    Saranga Wednesday, 19 July 2017 12:02 PM

    SL need to get over this stupid act

    Faqi Wednesday, 19 July 2017 12:16 PM

    This is crazy, arresting a tourist for weaing an image of the Buddha. What if she had a necklace with an image woudl they still arrest her. This is utter nonesense. There are images of the Buddha, Christ and other dieties all over the place in shops, papers. T shirts etc. This is stupidity taken to another level. Wearing an image of any diety is no insult to anyone.

    Silva Wednesday, 19 July 2017 12:18 PM

    here we go again!!Who is behind these incidents!? Punish these officials who harassed these tourists...These police officers are a disgrace to our Country and to Buddhism!!People have the freedom to wear what they like.

    BuffaloaCitizen Wednesday, 19 July 2017 12:22 PM

    Absolute ridiculous. This is a banana republic where even the police is illiterate. The Indian embassy should seek an apology from the Ministry of defense on this incident. Buddha after all is Hindu and came from India and this incident is another insult to Buddhism.

    MOHAMED Wednesday, 19 July 2017 12:24 PM

    appreciate the POLICE done a good job and said not only the image of Lord BUDDHA any religion considered offensive wearing on pants

    Krishna Thursday, 20 July 2017 01:17 PM

    All religions should be considered offensive.

    Art Wednesday, 19 July 2017 12:35 PM

    Police should be taught correct interpretation of the law, not what they think as the it.

    Stunned Citizen Wednesday, 19 July 2017 12:36 PM

    How about arresting the monks who run amok in the name of religions, going against the very principles that the Great Buddha gave us. Shame on you police, the government wants to promote tourism and the few that come are treated so badly. How about putting a set of rules at the airport to prevent such embarrassments in the first place.

    Saman Wednesday, 19 July 2017 12:38 PM

    In India if you hurt a cow even unintentionally you could be lynched. In Pakistan if you damage a book of the Quran you could face death penalty. We are no different.

    Ali Hu Kai Wednesday, 19 July 2017 03:30 PM

    Koheda Yanne, Malle Pol!

    Thanos Wednesday, 19 July 2017 03:37 PM

    As a Sri Lankan I feel really really bad for this family and I sincerely apologize. This is the primitive nature of Sinhala Buddhism compared to highly respected, philosophical and secular Theravada Buddhism.

    Religion No Thanks Wednesday, 19 July 2017 04:12 PM

    Religion is good for division! Better without it!!!!

    MyLanka Friday, 21 July 2017 06:55 AM

    It's not religion that's the problem. It's the morons who think they know religion. Buddhism is a tolerant religion. The sangha have made it what it is today.

    Bala Wednesday, 19 July 2017 10:53 PM

    Oh religion, what stupidity and farces are enacted in thy name. Have religions divided us as people or created any unity. Each to his religion is ok but it is those trying to safeguard his/her religion that causes havoc. At some point I hope everyone will realise that people can be ethical and moral without different religions confusing everyone.

    Mandy Wednesday, 19 July 2017 10:58 PM

    Holy Wars - crusades and isis etc. have achieved nothing but chaos. In the end religion may be thought of as having created more problems. Better everyone follow a humane philosophy without state patronage and heirarchies adding impurities.

    Ravi Wednesday, 19 July 2017 11:23 PM

    What about those statues all over the country getting bird crap!!! They venerate the statues and break all the principles! Hierocracy at its best!

    sobers Thursday, 20 July 2017 09:06 AM

    She has not insulted Buddhism. It is sheer ignorance or unintentional. Any how, Airports should carry information pertaining to it, like some Islamic countries providing "Abayas" for the Tourist and travelers as guidelines. Arresting and taking her to the Policec station is not good as we receive so many tourists from India even during the off season to keep the Industry going.

    Lankan Thursday, 20 July 2017 10:59 AM

    Not arresting the shop which is selling the T-Shirt?

    Katie Thursday, 20 July 2017 11:11 AM

    Before arresting the person wearing the Tshirt, the police should arrest the person/persons manufacturing these Tshirts. Its not the fault of the customer, but the fault of the manufacturer.

    Andy Thursday, 20 July 2017 10:43 PM

    This is worst than any country in the region. Buddhist show that they are frantic about the religion .

    PUZZLED Friday, 21 July 2017 12:02 AM

    So many killers have gone scot free in Sri Lanka ever since 1956 Sinhala Only came into being. Some Budhist priests in Sri Lanka are behind these killings!!May be the cops were hoping to get some money from the girl.

    sach Monday, 24 July 2017 06:26 PM

    what nonsense is this?

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