Ven. Amila's death fast ends amidst chaos and confusion

by Bharatha Malawaraarachchi and Ramyathilake Thalpita, Lanka Daily News, June 16, 2005

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Ven. Dambara Amila thera who was on a death fast was admitted to the Colombo National Hospital(CNH) by a group of Buddhist monks ending a five day death fast. However chaos and confusion was soon to follow when the very monks at the scene staged a protest demanding his return to continue his fast.

Police took steps to take the Ven. Amila thera at the request of clergy of the Jathika Bhikku Front. The thera was taken in an ambulance summoned by the Police with the help of the organisers of the death fast.

Hospital authorities said last night that it was too early to comment about the condition of the monk. The thera was admitted to the Medical Intensive Care Unit of CNH around 7.00 pm yesterday.

"We are now treating him for dehydration and at the moment, we are giving him saline," Hospital's Director Dr. Hector Weerasinghe told the Daily News.

He said blood samples taken from the monk had been sent for immediate investigation."Depending on the results, we will decide on the treatment to be given to him. Until then we have to monitor the situation."

Dr. Weerasinghe said the monk was admitted to the hospital by another group of Buddhist monks.

The thera slipped into unconsciousness several times yesterday and doctors who examined the thera informed the organisers that his condition was critical.

Accordingly, the Buddhists monks of the organising committee contacted the Police using a mobile phone. Police sprang into action and two ambulances arrived at the scene and those who were supporting the fasting thera were seen allowing the Police to take ambulance near the fasting tent.

Although some protested against Ven. Amila thera being taken away, a senior Police officer explained to them that Police came with ambulance at the request of the monks of the organising committee and that the fasting monk needed immediate treatment to save his life.

Then, the Buddhist monks who were at the scene were seen putting the Ven. Dambara thera into the ambulance and he was rushed to the hospital.

After about 15 minutes, one Buddhist monk at the scene addressing those gathered using loud speakers said the Police had forcibly taken away the Ven. Amila thera and that they were ready to launch a Satyagraha until he was brought to the fasting venue.

But, those gathered at the scene seemed not interested.