According to the Daily Mirror a group of tourists were given a suspended sentence for taking photographs while posing in an unbecoming manner in front of a Buddha statue.
The charges in such instances are apparently brought under the Vagrants Ordinance, which was originally intended to deal with beggars and vagrants who were a nuisance to the public. It is a bit of a stretch, to my mind, to charge people for taking photographs under this law, but hey this is Sri Lanka where things are beginning to look rather surreal.
Knowing how slow the procedure is I wonder how long it took for them to be produced in court? Were they arrested and held in custody or were they released on bail? Either way the experience must have been fairly traumatic, but more so if they were held in jail.
The other interesting fact is the righteous attitude of the studio manager who reported the tourists. Truly a card carrying member of the ThinkPol.
It was only earlier this week that the Daily Mirror reported the indignation with which the External Affairs Ministry said that it will challenge a recent travel advisory that warned of an upsurge of nationalism, sexual offences and anti-western rhetoric in the country.
This incident only serves to confirm the validity of that advisory.
Great marketing Sri Lanka Tourism.
Note: For anyone interested the full advisory is here. BBC report on the incident here.