Buddhist monks oppose demolition of structures inside Mahaparinirvan Complex

NewKerala, Jan 22, 2006

Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh (India) -- The Uttar Pradesh Government's decision to demolish illegal structures at the temple, dedicated to Lord Buddha here has invited the wrath of Buddhist monks. They are now all set to protest against the decision.

The decision to demolish the three structures - a charitable rest house, a clinic and a temple- within the compound of the Mahaparinirvan Temple comes in the wake of a recent court order ordering the demolitions. The Mahaparinirvan Temple has been constructed with the help of funds provided by the Government of Myanmar.

The court took the decision to demolish the illegal structures after after a public interest litigation was filed in this regard.

?They cannot break it at least before we die. This controversy is bound to spread to the entire world. We have already sent communications to several embassies and Buddhists organizations across the world. We are not scared, but if they will try and do something wrong then it can only happen over our dead bodies,? said Bhikshu Gyaneshwar, the secretary of the Temple.

Earlier, the temple authorities were given time till December 25 last year to demolish the structures, failing which the administration would step in.

But the court stayed the order after several Buddhists applied for reconsideration. An administrative committee is currently looking into the matter.

The administration, meanwhile, says the monks are not following the rules. They also say that these structures are not a part of the original design approved by district officials, and constructions took place after 1990.

According to a 1992 ruling by the Archaeological Survey of India, the prime body that manages archaeological sites in India, no construction can take place within 100 meters of a protected monument.

The Kushinagar Monastery has violated the ASI Act on three counts.

?Structures can be constructed within 100 meters of the Mahaparinirvan Mandir (main temple). These constructions have been found to be within the 100 meters area. For example, the small Buddha temple has been found to be inside and it goes against the map of the premises. That is illegal. The two-room clinic has also been found illegal. A rest house next to the boundary wall is also illegal. So in all, three of their structures have been found to be illegal,? D. S. Upadhyaya, Sub-divisional Magistrate of Kushinagar, said.

Officials say the new structures do not conform to the conditions laid down by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Several countries have contributed to construction of temples and meditation sites at Kushinagar, and the Burmese temple is one such among them.

Kushinagar is believed to be the place where Gautam Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana, or the release from the endless cycle of birth and rebirth, more than 25 centuries ago.