Cops in dark over nun's death

Times of India, Dec 31, 2007

GAYA, India -- The mysterious burning of James Lamo (pronounced Jah mes Lah mo), the Buddhist nun who died of 100 per cent burns near world famous Mahabodhi Temple, late on Thursday evening, has left behind several unanswered questions with the police groping in the dark after registering a case of unnatural death in the Bodh Gaya police station.

Initially, the Gaya police sold the suicide theory for the Bhutanese nun's death (earlier the nun was identified as a monk), but in the absence of circumstantial evidence support for the suicide theory, the police too kept its options open. Investigation is on the cards.

To add to the police's woes, the autopsy report remains vague on the cause of death and as such the investigators now look to the viscera report for making some headway in the investigation.

When asked about the contents of the autopsy report, the Gaya SP Amit Jain said that though he has yet not personally gone through the report, he has come to know that the autopsy report is vague on the cause of death issue. "The nun's viscera have been preserved," said the SP.

The absence of any agents of fire like a match box, inflammable items, suicide note etc from the place of occurrence and the unbelievably calm death (a rarity bordering impossibility in the case of burns) have put spoke in the suicide theory, thereby compelling the police to look beyond the easy option of passing it out as suicide.

Some medical experts do not rule out the possibility of the nun having been heavily drugged before being torched to death by some miscreants. But the question remains as to who would torch an innocent nun, who has no known enmity with anybody. The skeptics are inclined to believe that if the nun did not commit suicide/immolation, then she might have been first drugged and then torched to deflect attention from major local issues like encroachments and holy tree branch cutting etc.

But this theory, like the suicide theory is not free from shortcomings, thereby reducing its credibility.

Interestingly, the incident is being differently interpreted by some devotees who see it as the attainment of salvation by the nun through internal combustion engineered by deep and relentless meditation. The subscribers of this view include the monk Arup Brahmachari.

The incident has also brought into light the declining level of sensitivity. Though nobody saw the fire being ignited, a crowd gathered soon after the flames were noticed by the nearby vendors and others.
The Buddhist Channel - Donate to Support Our Work

An Appeal

In deep gratitude for your support! We are half way to meeting our target (US$ 10,400 of US$ 18,000 already achieved)!

The Buddhist Channel is a dedicated group of "mindful communication practitioners" striving to make a positive impact on the Buddhist community. We deeply believe in the power of mindful journalism and are reaching out to you with a heartfelt request for your support. Your donation, no matter the size, can make a tangible difference in the lives of countless Buddhist monastics, local communities and other dedicated engaged workers. With your help, we make their stories known, and thereby opening up avenues for them to obtain sustainable support for their work.

Please indicate whether your support will be a donation or a loan. We will get back to you via email. We thank you in advance for providing us financial relieve. May the Buddha Dharma ever be your guide and protector.

Note: To date, we have received the following:

US$ 900 from Esa Myllykoski (donation)
US$ 9,500 from Lance Edwards/Kau Soo Kin (loan)

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: