A woman has been deported from Sri Lanka after she was accused of “hurting others” with her Buddha tattoo.
The British tourist, Naomi Coleman, 37, was arrested at the country’s main international airport on Monday, shortly after her arrival on a flight from neighbouring India.
She appeared before a magistrate who ordered her deportation.
“It is a terrible, hellish experience,” Coleman, a mental health nurse from Coventry in England, said by telephone at the Sri Lankan deportation centre to reporters.
“I am a practicing Buddhist and meditate. That is why I have the tattoo – not out of disrespect for Buddhism.”
Earlier, pulling up her white t-shirt, Coleman displayed for a photographer the tattoo of a meditating Buddha seated on a pink lotus flower on the upper part of her right arm, according to ninemsn.
Ms Coleman said the tattoo had never created problems for her when she visited the country twice before or even in other Buddhist counties like Thailand and Cambodia.
Ms Coleman said she had to pay 5000 rupees ($41) for a lawyer who did not help her.
“I cried. I am very afraid,” she said.
Sri Lanka barred another British tourist from entering the island in March last year for showing “disrespect” to Buddhism but having a Buddha tattooed on his arm.
According to ninemsn, in August 2013, three French tourists were sentenced to six months in jail, which was suspended for five years, for kissing a Buddha statue in what the authorities considered a sign of disrespect.
And Sri Lanka prevented US rap star Akon from visiting in 2010 over one of his music videos which featured scantily clad women dancing in front of a Buddha statue.
The British woman is expected to be deported back to England despite telling authorities she was bound to travel on to the Maldives and would happily fly there directly.