Buddhists want control over Bodh Gaya’s Mahabodhi temple

IANS, December 29, 2009

Bodh Gaya Patna (India) -- Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan has come out in support of Buddhist monks who are demanding control over the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya, the religion’s holiest shrine.

“The LJP will fight for Buddhist control over the management of the Mahabodhi temple and to ensure it we seek an amendment to the Mahabodhi Temple Management Act, 1949,” Paswan said here Tuesday.

Paswan told IANS that the LJP will launch an agitation for Buddhist control over the management of the Mahabodhi temple if the Bihar government failed to amend the act.

“It was wrong to deny rights to Buddhists, it was against the constitution. Buddhists deserve a total control over the management of the Mahabodhi temple,” Paswan said.

For a long time Buddhist monks have been demanding total control over the

1,500-year-old temple at Bodh Gaya, located 110 km from here, where the Buddha attained enlightenment 2,550 years ago.

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

Buddhist monks are unhappy with the Bihar government for “deliberately” delaying an amendment to the Mahabodhi Temple Management Act, 1949, to ensure Buddhist control over the management of the temple. They described the delay as a “conspiracy” by the government to keep the management under the control of non-Buddhists.

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.
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