Sri Lanka monk dies after self-immolation

May 25, 2013 (AFP) – 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 at the National Hospital in Colombo where he was rushed Friday after his self-immolation bid 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 told AFP.

He becomes the first Sri Lankan Buddhist monk to self-immolate.

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 put out the flames.

“This is a sacrifice of a life. This is not a suicide,” the monk told the local Swarnavahini television cameraman minutes before the self-immolation bid. “There are over 5,000 cattle slaughtered in Sri Lanka each morning and it must stop.”

In a leaflet distributed to devotees outside the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, 72 miles (115 kilometres) east of the capital Colombo, the monk said