Sri Lanka monk dies after setting self on fire

Sri Lankan Buddhist monk Sek Bowatte Indaratna (above) is engulfed in flames after he set himself on fire in the central town of Kandy.  -- PHOTO: AFP

COLOMBO (AFP) - A Sri Lankan Buddhist monk died on Saturday of severe burns a day after setting himself on fire to protest the slaughter of cattle, an official said.

Sek Bowatte Indaratna, 30, succumbed to his injuries at the National Hospital in Colombo where he was rushed Friday after his self-immolation bid in front of the highly venerated Temple of the Tooth in the central town of Kandy.

"He died of severe burns. He had 95 percent burns and was fighting for his life," hospital spokesman Pushpa Soysa told AFP. He becomes the first Sri Lankan Buddhist monk to self-immolate.

A local television channel showed dramatic images of the monk using a cigarette lighter to set himself ablaze and bystanders, including police throwing buckets of water to put out the flames.