Buddhist body stages silent protest

ENS, May 21 2008

SALEPUR, India -- Buddhayan, a leading Buddhist cultural organisation, observed Buddha Jayanti in a different way here at the famous Buddhist site Lalitagiri on Tuesday.

More than 200 people wearing black badges sat in front of a Buddha image and staged a silent protest against the alleged apathetical attitude of the government as well as ASI authorities in bringing back the sacred relics of Lord Buddha to Lalitagiri.

As per reports, during the excavation undertaken by ASI at the Landa hill of Lalitagiri in Cuttack district, these sacred bone relics were discovered in 1988. These were well preserved in the caskets of gold encapsulated respectively by silver, steatite and khandolite containers.

Considering the system of preservation, experts believe that the piece of sacred bone relic foiled by gold wire and gold leaf is the auspicious bone or tooth relic of Lord Buddha (Tathagata) and the other piece of bone relic fastened by a gold wire only is probably the remains of Buddha’s prominent disciples either of Sariputta or Mahamogallana.

The ASI authorities have kept the relic caskets in the strong room of ASI, Orissa circle, Bhubaneswar.

A team of members of Buddhayan,which has been demanding to bring these rare and auspicious relic caskets to its original place, had met chief minister, Union Minister Ambika Soni and Director General of ASI in 2007 and submitted memorandum to set up a strong room and showcase the casket at Lalitagiri.

"It is a matter of utmost regret that even though 20 years have already been passed no action has yet been taken to bring the relic caskets to Lalitagiri," said Debendra Kumar Sahoo, president, Buddhayan.

"We will be compelled to stage a mass dharna in front of the office of the Director General, ASI, New Delhi if timely action is not taken to bring the relic caskets to Lalitagiri within one month," said Bebarta Ajay Ballav Das, vice-president of Buddhayan.