London: Sri Lanka will launch inquiry into the role of the media in the death of a Buddhist monk who set himself on fire. According to officials, journalists who filmed Bowatte Indarathana`s self-immolation could have tried to have him rescued.
The BBC quoted Media Ministry Secretary, Charitha Herath, as saying that Indarathana had told at least one TV journalist of his plan. He said any reporter who knew in advance of the monk`s plans should have contacted the police, in order to avert the disaster. The government condemned media outlets showing video of the incident. Indarathana was protesting against the slaughter of cattle and the alleged conversion of Buddhists by Sri Lanka`s minority faiths.
He set himself on fire outside the holiest Buddhist shrine in the country - the Temple of the Tooth in the central city of Kandy. He died in intensive care in the capital Colombo the following day. Indarathana, believed to be aged 30, belonged to a Buddhist revivalist group, which has been campaigning against the Muslim halal method of slaughtering animals.
Meanwhile, hardline Buddhist nationalists are hailing the dead monk as a hero for his act. Self-immolation by Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka is exceptionally rare, although many Tibetan monks have recently committed suicide in this way for political reasons.