Mourning monks protest England Test | india | Hindustan Times
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Mourning monks protest England Test

Buddhist monks tried but failed to stop a Test match between England and Sri Lanka as a sign of respect for a popular colleague who died of a heart attack.

india Updated: Dec 18, 2003 19:50 IST

Buddhist monks tried but failed to stop a Test cricket match between visiting England team and Sri Lanka here Thursday as a sign of respect for a popular colleague who died of a heart attack.

Witnesses said a few dozen saffron robed monks who tried to storm the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) grounds were stopped by police and turned away amid noisy protests.

"The monks wanted the match stopped because the body of a monk who died in Russia was brought back today," a cricket fan outside the gates of the SSC said. "they wanted cricket fans also to mourn."

Organisers of the cricket tournament said they could not stop play unless the government declared a day of national mourning which usually brings sporting events and public entertainment to a standstill.

The Buddhist monk Soma died in Russia earlier in the week and an autopsy here Thursday showed that he had died of a massive heart attack, said a spokesman for the hospital where the examination was held.

The monk was a popular figure who regularly appeared on national television.