Buddhist monks to protest over control of Bodh Gaya temple

IANS, February 22, 2010

Patna, India -- More than 2,000 Buddhist monks from across the country will participate in a march in the Bihar capital to demand Buddhist control over Bodh Gaya’s 1,500-year-old Mahabodhi temple, the religion’s holiest shrine.

Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan said that more than 2,000 Buddhist monks will take part in a march Feb 24 called by the party to gain Buddhist control over the Mahabodhi temple.

“The monks would also submit a memorandum to Bihar Governor Devanand Konwar in support of their demand after a march from Gandhi maidan to Raj Bhawan,” Paswan said.

“Buddhists have the right to control the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya,” Paswan told IANS Monday.

Earlier Paswan announced that the LJP would launch a Mahabodhi temple liberation agitation. “The LJP will fight for Buddhist control over the management of the Mahabodhi temple,” Paswan said.

For a long time Buddhist monks have been demanding total control over the temple at Bodh Gaya, located 110 km from here, where the Buddha attained enlightenment 2,550 years ago.

The Buddhists decided to intensify their agitation last month as the Bihar government was not paying heed to their demands.

According to the existing law, the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BGTMC) should comprise four Buddhists and the same number of Hindu members for a three-year period with the Gaya district magistrate as its ex-officio chairman.