Anti-BBS Monk Attacked Twice and Hospitalized in Sri Lanka…Or Not [TWO UPDATES]

This from Al Jazeera English:

A Buddhist leader and fierce critic of hardliners blamed for attacks on Muslims, is in hospital after reportedly being abducted, stripped naked, and beaten.

Watareka Vijitha Thero, the leader of the Jathika Bala Sena who opposes the actions of Sinhala Buddhist hardliners Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), was abducted and assaulted in the outskirts of capital Colombo on Wednesday night.

Thero was found by a roadside in Panadura town. He was stripped naked, and his arms and legs were tied. His robe and wallet were found nearby. Shehan Kapuge, a local resident, said he had been told the the monk was thrown from a vehicle on Thursday morning.

The monk was taken to the National Hospital in Colombo.

The Colombo Telegraph intimates that this is the second such attack on Watareka Vijitha Thero. The BBS have denied involvement in the attacks.

Tensions between Buddhists and Muslims flared in Sri Lanka this week, with at least three people killed and many more injured. You can read the New York Times report on these recent events here.

[UPDATE: Sri Lankan media outlets are now reporting that “[police] investigations had found the statements made by the monk were false and that he had staged the abduction with his relatives… Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana told a media briefing today that legal action is to be filed against the monk over the alleged attack.”]

[2ND UPDATE: Ven. Watareka Vijitha Thero has been arrested, but says that “in time people will get to know what happened.” However, as one Facebook commentator on this story said, given all that’s going on in Sri Lanka, it will probably be difficult to suss out the truth here.]

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