Cambodian Buddhist temple in eye of storm

TNN, Feb 28, 2014

VARANASI, India -- The newly constructed Cambodian Buddhist temple was inaugurated in the restricted area of Sarnath on Friday amid controversy and tight security arrangements.

Varanasi Development Authority (VDA), which had already issued demolition order against the construction of the temple in Archeological Survey of India's (ASI) conserved area, made it clear that it would continue its action against the temple.

The Cambodian embassy officials would also be made aware about the construction of temple by overlooking the prescribed norms.

In the presence of Cambodian ambassador to India Yous Makana and member of Cambodian royal family, the temple was inaugurated. In order to avoid protests, even newpersons were barred from entering the temple. Tight security arrangements were made.

The Rapid Action Force personnel looked ready to foil any protest bid. Temple authorities also refused to divulge anything.

The reason behind the distance maintained with media can be known by going through the past records of this temple.

As per the prescribed norms of ASI, any construction in 100 metres radius of protected monuments is restricted while seeking no-objection certificate from divisional commissioner through VDA is a must for any construction made in further 200 metres of area.

The senior conservation assistant of ASI's Sarnath office PK Tripathi informed that with the beginning of construction, several complaints were made against it with VDA, divisional commissioner and DM.

District magistrate Pranjal Yadav said that it is surprising that despite the objections and actions, the temple was constructed. He said that he would seek a report from VDA officials in this regard to decide future course of action. The issue would also be communicated to the Cambodian embassy.