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Foreign Minister gets tough on commercial exploitation of Buddha image

Daily News, Sri Lanka
June 18, 2004 • Sunday June 20, 2004

Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar has addressed letters to his counterparts in Buddhist and European countries seeking assistance to take preventive measure against the commercial exploitation of the Buddha image.

This is following Ven. Daranagama Kusaladhamma Thera of the Sri Sambodhi Viharaya calling on Minister Kadirgamar and requesting the Foreign Affairs Ministry to take action to prevent the exploitation of the Buddha image by commercial establishments the world over, by taking this with the authorities in the countries concerned.

Kadirgamar has also directed all heads of Sri Lanka Missions abroad to make representations to the authorities in their countries of accreditation as well as to commercial establishments emphasising the pain of mind caused to Sri Lankan Buddhists and the world over and requesting that steps be taken to remove the offending items from the market.

Several Buddhist organisations have made representations to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the commercial exploitation of the Buddha image.

Ven. Daranagama Kusaladhamma Thera of Sri Sambodhi Viharaya, 106, Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 7, filed a Fundamental Rights application in the Supreme Court seeking relief from the Court to prevent the commercial exploitation of the Buddha image.

Several instances of such exploitation of the Buddha image including on swimwear for women advertised on the Internet, candles manufactured in the form of the Buddha and compact discs with the Buddha’s image cited in the petition filed in the Supreme Court.

Assistance will also be sought at the diplomatic level by the Foreign Ministry from the Colombo based Missions, to convey this concern to their respective governments and commercial establishments, the Ministry said yesterday.

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