COLOMBO – A Sri Lankan Buddhist monk died Saturday of severe burns a day after setting himself on fire to protest the slaughter of cattle, an official said.
Bowatte Indaratna, 30, succumbed to his injuries after being rushed to the National Hospital in Colombo following his self-immolation in front of the highly venerated Temple of the Tooth in the central town of Kandy.
“He died of severe burns. He had 95 percent burns and was fighting for his life,” hospital spokeswoman Pushpa Soysa said.
He is the first Sri Lankan Buddhist monk to set himself on fire.
A local television channel showed dramatic images of the monk using a cigarette lighter to set himself ablaze and bystanders, including police, throwing buckets of water to try to put out the flames.
“This is a sacrifice of a life. This is not a suicide,” the monk told a local Swarnavahini TV cameraman minutes before his self-immolation. “There are over 5,000 cattle slaughtered in Sri Lanka each morning and it must stop.”