The woman who was arrested by the Hasalaka Police for allegedly wearing a dress with a ‘dharma chakra’ in May last year was acquitted of all charges by the courts on Monday.
Following a tip-off given by the people in Kolongoda, 47-year-old M. R Mazahima had been arrested by the Hasalaka Police at the time for wearing a caftan with a symbol that ‘resembled the Darmachakra’- the wheel of Dhamma. The symbol on her dress was believed to have insulted Buddhism. She was initially remanded by the magistrate until May 27, 2019. Despite the outcry that the picture was clearly a helm of a ship, the Mazahima was re-remanded until June 3, 2019 under the ICCPR Act.
At the time Human Rights Lawyer J.C.Weliamuna said that the arrest was unlawful and the woman should claim damages as an arbitrary arrest is a violation of a fundamental right. Ven.Dambara Amila also at the time confirmed that the picture was not that of the Darmachakra, but was of the helm of a wheel. “The Darmachakra is like a wheel of a cart. It’s a symbol of the spreading of Buddhism. The Darmachakra is what you find in the Indian national flag. But the picture on the woman’s dress is not the Darmachakra,” he said.
Following an ordeal lasting for nearly a year she has been acquitted now by the courts.