Three young Sri Lankan men were arrested after posting photos of themselves flashing their backsides at Pidurangala Rock, a sacred site in the country, reported the BBC. The photos, which were posted on Facebook, caused backlash from people who thought that they were a religious insult.
The complaint that led to the men’s arrest was made by a Buddhist monk who called the photos taken at the UNESCO World Heritage site an insult. Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe then directed police to investigate the incident.
This is not the first time photos of people flashing their backsides at the Sigiriya rock fortress have circulated on social media sites. Similar photos were posted by Instagram account Cheeky Exploits, which collects photos of people flashing their rear ends at various sites around the world. The photos of the foreign travelers, who posed at the same sacred site, went viral. However, the foreigners were not arrested.
While many people supported the arrest of the three men, others questioned it. On Facebook, one user commented, “When our children are being raped and women being abused, Sri Lankan police do nothing. They only seem to act on nonsensical non-issues like this.”
See the controversial Instagram post here.
Other people wanted to know why just the locals were arrested and not the foreigners even though they had all taken the same photos.
“So law enforcement should only be limited to brown bums? Sri Lanka Police should send several teams around the world to identify the rest.”
There are many past incidences of nude or semi-nude photos being taken at sacred sites around the world and going viral on social media. In 2017, Playboy model Jaylene Cook participated in a nude photo shoot at the top of New Zealand’s Mount Taranaki. The local Maori tribe were outraged by the photos, calling them culturally utterly insensitive, writes the BBC. The top of the volcano is considered the burial ground of the tribe’s ancestors and is typically only accessed during ceremonies.
A spokesperson for the tribe, Dennis Ngawhare, explained why the Maori were offended.
“It’s like someone went into St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and took a nude photo. It’s a sacred place and something like this is just very inappropriate.”
Back in 2015, four tourists were arrested in Malaysia after taking nude photos on sacred site Mount Kinabalu. They were even blamed by some for a 5.9 magnitude earthquake that hit the area sometime after. The tourists were jailed for three days and had to pay a fine before being released.