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Akon denied Lankan visa after protests

world Updated: Mar 25, 2010 11:30 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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Rapper and R&B singer Akon will not be allowed to enter Sri Lanka for a sell-out concert scheduled in April after the powerful Buddhist clergy and thousands on a Facebook site took offence to one of his videos.

The Sri Lankan Cabinet has ratified the government decision to reject visa to US-Senegalese origin Akon — if and when he applied — on the basis that one of his videos brought disrespect to Buddhism, Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said.

The video in question Sexy Bitch shows women in bikinis dancing around the statue of Buddha at a pool party on the Spanish island of Ibiza.

Sri Lanka is an overwhelmingly Buddhist country. Its Constitution decrees Buddhism should be given precedence over all other religion. The Buddhist clergy is powerful and all dates and events associated with the life of Buddha are observed with piety.

Grammy-nominated Akon was to perform in Sri Lanka next month and a tourism drive was also launched to attract fans from Asia and other regions for the concert. According to AFP, the show was reported to have sold out with tickets priced at Rs. 25,000 (217 $).