Builder, aides killed Maha Thero: monks

by Ashwin Aghor, DNA India, January 7, 2008

MUMBAI, India -- Fellow Buddhist monks alleged that a builder from the area and his aides had “killed” Buddha Bhante Bhadhant Sanghraj Thero. They blamed police for taking no action against the builder despite repeated complaints against him.

Sangh leaders claimed that the builder had wanted to develop a plot under Slum Redevelopment Authority (SRA) scheme, but Bhante Thero strongly objected to it and succeeded in getting a stay order on the redevelopment. “Since his scheme was put on hold because of Bhante’s opposition, the builder got him eliminated,” said Kasbe, a Sangh member.

Viratna Bhanate, general secretary of Mumbai Pradesh Bhikkhu Sangh, said, “When the builder failed to build a Buddha Vihar on the plot, Maha Thero was controlling the vihar, stopped him from working on the project for the past eight months. Three local residents were close to the builder, and they too could have been involved in the murder.”

Corporator Sujata Waghmare, who went to pay her tribute to the monk, also said, “Prima facie, it looks like murder.”

Bhadant Rahul Bodhi, secretary of All India Bhikkhu Sangh, the involvement of the builder and his aides was clearly there and they should be punished. Bhante Dhammakirti, office bearer of All India Bhikkhu Sangh, said the deceased had told him a month ago that he feared for his life. “He complained about his removal as a member from Sandesh Buddha Vihar. We are investigating the matter.”