Arrest of Britisher over Buddha tattoo -FR reserved for judgment
Posted on November 7th, 2017

Dr Sarath Obeysekera  

Arrest of Britisher over Buddha tattoo -FR reserved for judgment

Lakmal Sooriyagoda

After procedural delays, the Supreme Court has reserved its judgment on a Fundamental Rights Petition filed by a British tourist who challenged the infringement of her fundamental rights.She was arrested and detained for allegedly displaying a Buddha tattoo on her upper limb at Katunayake in 2014.In her petition, the British tourist Naomi Coleman had sought a compensation of Rs.10 million from the respondents and further sought a declaration that her detention was null and void and contrary to Articles 13(2) and 12 of the Constitution.The petitioner Naomi Coleman, (37) a nurse by profession at the Hawkesbury Lodge, Rehabilitation Mental Health Services, had filed the petition through President’s Counsel J.C. Weliamuna and Pulasthi Hewamanne on the instructions of counsel Vishwa De Livera Tennakoon on Pro Bono”. In her petition, she had cited the Attorney General, Police Sergeant and OIC of Katunayake police station, Controller General of Immigration and Emigration, Inspector General of Police and OIC of Negombo Prison as respondents.The petitioner stated that she is a devout practising Buddhist, who has attended meditation retreats in Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia and India.”

We have a three wheeler stand near Jayawardane Gama . Three wheeler driver have installed loudspeaker powered by the small hut underneath. run by their duty Officers” of three wheel drivers   where early morning pirith is  chanted .This hut runs  Horse racing/gambling  hut and most probably sells Kassippu” .I called that this act is against Buddh’as preaching’s and police should charge them. We see that three wheelers carrying stickers with words like Budu Saranai” or fly Budda;s flag . I have seen Sri Lankan men and women having Tattoos with Buddha and preaching .At every junction they place Buddhist statues and install loudspeakers ,Crows land on Buddha;s head and spread their excreta. I call this is a chargeable insult .Rogue private bus drivers  carry buddha’s picture and words like Buddham Saranam” .It may be for himself but not the passengers .People who are involved in various nefarious activities go to Kataragama to preach growth of their business ,Before attending devalaya” they visit kiriWehera and preach ,This is insult to Buddha .

All temples by main roads try to build highest Buddhist Statue to attract customers” Some priests hardly practice Buddha;s preaching ,Yestrday I saw a unshaven ,long haired young Buddhist monk walking along Galle Face carrying a fashionable odel” shoulder bag looking around ,I consider that this is insult to Buddhism .I watch pirith chanted in every TV channel where young monks with grown hair and beard ( groomed by Ramani’s and pretending that they chant pirith ,Recently a Salone was openned in my area and I saw a Buddhist monk getting down from a Tuk Tuk and walking into the Salone .He was going for a pedicure before attending a Dana” where devotees who wash their feet prior to Dana” want to see clean feet ?

This is insult to Buddhism .

All these things have become more and more after Hela Urumaya brought and enticed monks to come to dirty game of politics. I remember a Buddhist monk who used by a highly regarded as a skilled sculptor visiting Russia ,going around with a Mongolian yound lass as his Abbittaya” .He used to sit with friends and gulp whole bottle of Armenian Koniack ( Brandy He once wanted icons which are the ancient pictures of Christ  To be taken to Rome to present to the Pope !! When Russia was considering Religion as a Abin” ( narcotic ) Communist Russians would have been laughing. .

You see people wearing underwear’s and swimming trunks with Buddha’s pictures. You see liquor bars with name Buddha;s Bar”

To become a real Buddhist ,people should stick 5 or 8 sil” and behave with compassion ,We Sri Lankans try to show that we are real Buddhist and try to arrest a British who may have wanted a statue on her body ,presumable arrested by a Cop who violates and norms on Buddhist Preaching’s.  like taking bribes and behave like animals .

Let us be more sensible please

Dr Sarath Obeysekera

2 Responses to “Arrest of Britisher over Buddha tattoo -FR reserved for judgment”

  1. Nimal Says:

    Haven’t got the time to read all but I bust say that one must have the great teachings in one’s heart and practice it and to be concerned about symbols and statues is utterly absurd.

  2. Vaisrawana Says:

    I totally agree with Dr Sarath Obeysekera. Thank you for your article. The idiots who are responsible for her arrest must be punished. Since it is the state that is ultimately responsible for this sort of miscarriage of justice, the government must make a formal apology to the aggrieved party, and pay a suitable compensation, not Rs 1 million (which is a derisory amount in our depreciated currency), but at least 5 million, so it would amount to something respectable in terms of Euros or Brit Pounds or US Dollars.

    Naomi Coleman is a nurse at the well known Hawkesbury Lodge, Rehabilitation Mental Health Services, in England, as Dr Obeysekera mentions. She is a Buddhist. Obviously, she has embraced Buddhism through conviction. When that happens in the Western society, the person involved often has to go against the wishes of their families, friends, and other social circles. They could risk being regarded as weird. That is not an easy thing to endure. So, it calls for a lot of determination and courage for someone from the British society to voluntarily become a Buddhist. Generally, such Buddhists use their rational minds in understanding the Buddha’s teaching. Most Buddhists of our country who are Buddhists because they were born to Buddhist parents do not have that attitude. Naomi Coleman must have got a rude shock when she was arrested for wearing a Buddha tattoo on her upper arm.

    Buddha statues are often used by non-Buddhists as ornaments. They don’t necessarily mean thereby to insult the Buddha or Buddhists. There may be certain philistines who want to desecrate Buddha images by doing that. But they are very few. However, the fact that the Buddha image is sometimes found imprinted on slippers, shoes, and sarees should alert the authorities to the possibility of there being organized groups intent upon arousing religious passions among communities for their own unholy purposes.

    Of course, the judgement of the court will have to be accepted with respect. Let’s hope that ultimately justice will be served in this case. It is a pity that Naomi Coleman hasn’t found a better, more skilled lawyer than the one she’s retained.

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