An ar­rest un­war­ranted

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - NEWS FEATURES - By Shatara Jaya­suriya

De­spite the out­cry that the pic­ture was clearly a helm of a ship, the Maza­hima was rere­manded un­til June 3 un­der the ICCPR Act

Fol­low­ing a tip-off given by the peo­ple in Ko­lon­goda, 47-year-old M. R Maza­hima was ar­rested by the Hasalaka Po­lice, last month, for wear­ing a caf­tan with a sym­bol that ‘re­sem­bled the Dar­ma­chakra’- the wheel of

Dhamma. The sym­bol on her dress was be­lieved to have in­sulted Bud­dhism. She was ini­tially re­manded by the mag­is­trate un­til May 27. De­spite the out­cry that the pic­ture was clearly a helm of a ship,

the Maza­hima was re-re­manded un­til June 3 un­der the ICCPR Act. The po­lice in­formed the court that the dress con­cerned had been sent to the De­part­ment of Bud­dhist Af­fairs to as­cer­tain the iden­tity of the sym­bol. When the case was taken up on June 3, Maza­hima was granted bail and the next court date was fixed for Novem­ber 4.

Maza­hima is from a poverty stricken fam­ily and her hus­band is a ma­son who was work­ing in Colombo at the time of her ar­rest. Maza­hima had been on her way to with­draw money from a bank in Ko­lon­goda, when peo­ple had no­ticed the dress and in­formed po­lice. Later, the Hasalaka

Po­lice ar­rested her, once she had re­turned home. Ac­cord­ing to her hus­band, Ab­dul

Mu­naf, Maza­hima had been wear­ing the dress as a ca­sual cloth­ing for the past one and a half years. She had worn it and vis­ited rel­a­tives in We­li­mada etc, but no one had ques­tioned her pre­vi­ously. Speak­ing to the , Ab­dul

Mu­naf said that the in­ci­dent was a grave in­jus­tice. “I be­came help­less and I feel de­pressed. We are up­set that we got em­broiled in some­thing that we never ex­pected nor in­tended,” he said.

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