May 29, 2019

Cases filed under ICCPR Act attract global attention Featured


International attention has been focussed on two cases filed by the police under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act, No. 56 of 2007.

One case is regarding a woman wearing clothing with print of a ship’s helm on it, where she was charged for having insulted Buddhism and is being remanded without bail.

The woman has been remanded for the second time on allegations that the image of the helm on the caftan she wore is the ‘Dharma Chakraya’ and by wearing it she had insulted Buddhism.

The 47-year-old woman who was arrested in Hasalaka has been identified as M.R. Masahima.

The police had notified court that the said piece of clothing has been sent to the Buddhist Affairs Ministry for confirmation whether it is a Dharmachakraya and the Magistrate had ordered the Muslim woman to be further remanded until June 03rd.

The woman’s husband is employed in Colombo and she had been on her way to the bank when a complaint had been made that she was wearing clothing that carried the logo of the Dharmachakraya. The police arrested her on May 16th.

The husband of the woman Abdul Munaz who is a labourer, claims that his wife had been wearing this caftan for over 1 ½ years. He said that the action taken by the police to arrest her without proper investigation is a serious injustice.

The image of the caftan in question has been released to the media and it is clearly shown that there is an image of a sail boat in the background.

No bail for Shakthika

In a similar incident, award winning author Shakthika Sathkumara has also been remanded for over two months under the same International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act, No. 56 of 2007.

This is over his novel Ardha.

Shakthika had previously written around 33 books, most of them award winning novels.

In several of these books the preface had been written by renowned Buddhist monks.

He has written over ten books on Buddhism which entitled him to win the Sambuddha Jayanthi Award.

Homosexual activities at temples

Jayatillake Kammallaweera had meanwhile, written a fine letter to the youth front for the protection of Buddhism who had lodged the complaint against Shakthi.

It states, “It is not understandable how writing about the homosexual activities at temples can be interpreted as insulting Buddhism. It is no secret about what takes place in temples. I have experience living in an orphanage for five years under a Maha Nayake who was a well known figure in the country. I have written a novel based on my experiences over 20 years ago, which was commended by many critics. But, this novel was never criticised by the then chief monks as they were aware that the criticism was not against Buddhism but against a segment of monks only.”

The letter sent by Kammallaweera to the youth front for the protection of Buddhism is shown below.