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Last updated: January 31, 2008

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2004 Stories (11 items)

Bodhgaya News Being Erratically Updated
August 13, 2004. Due to pressure of work commitments since last December I am not able to update this website regularly at the moment. That is to say the present contents will remain up for the moment but I am not adding new stories on a regular basis. Also I am adding more stories gradually gathered during the last few months, so although the lead story may not change there may be new stories I noticed further down the page.
Part of the reason for this is also that when I was in Bodhgaya last December I started wondering about the way that the local media contribute to and play a role in the events occuring in Bodhgaya and decided to take a step back for a while and consider this a bit more. There is excellent discussion of this issue in India's Newspaper Revolution by Robin Jeffrey (Hurst & Company, London, 2000). Another part of the reason is simply I am finding very depressing the stories of people squabbling over the temple and the accusations and counter-accusations made by the various parties.

Bhiksu Rahul Starts Hunger Strike
Bodhgaya, 12 August, (Dainik Jagran). Ven. Rahul Sankrityayan the Secretary of the Vajrabodhi Society who was taken into police custody on Wednesday night has begun a hunger strike. more

Ven. Rahul in Police Custody
Bodhgaya, 11 August (Dainik Jagran). The Police took into custody on Wednesday night the Ven. Rahul Sankriyayan the secretary of the Vajrabodhi Society which runs in Bodhgaya. more

[See also story below of the 29th July]

Cases against Vimalasara Discharged
Melbourne, August 6, 2004. The Rev. Vimalasara (also spelled Wimalasara) who was the former Monk in charge of the Mahabodhi Society of India's Bodhgaya centre has been discharged from the main charges against him and the remaining case against him has been stayed, which is effectively also therefore dropped. The cases have been dropped I understand due to lack of evidence to frame the charges meaning that the Magistrate ruled that there were no charges to be answered. Read Vimalasara's Letter to the Home Affairs Ministry in this regard.

Arrest warrant against Buddhist shrine official
IANS, July 31, 2004 Patna, India -(Buddhist News Network) - A Bihar court has issued a non-bailable warrant for the arrest of a top official of the Mahabodhi temple, a world heritage site and one of the holiest Buddhist shrines, in Bodh Gaya, about 100 km south of here. The warrant against temple administration secretary Kalicharan Yadav was issued on a private complaint of cheating and criminal breach of trust filed by a hotelier. Full story.

"Monk In Charge Chases Cleaner and Beats him up"
Aj, Patna, Tuesday, 27 July 2004, page 3.(Gaya Office, 26th July). Aj newspaper reports that the Bodhipal, the Monk in Charge of the Bodhgaya Temple, for the Temple Management Committee (not the same as the Mahabodhi Society as in the above article) has shocked people by swearing at one of the temple cleaners, Ganesh Manjhi, and after striking him with his hands beating him with a broom. Ganesh Manjhi says that other monks tried to stop Bodhipal but he swore at them and told them to go away. Ganesh Manjhi said that the Monk in Charge had previously treated them rudely and had misbehaved with the wife of one of them. The temple cleaners have complained about this matter to the local MP Rajesth Kumar Manjhi, who has said the matter will be taken seriously and there will be an investigation. However, Bodhipal, the Monk in Charge of the Bodhgaya Temple, has said that the incident is made up.

Bodhgaya-Daltonganj Railway Line Proposal Approved: Minister
Sherghati, (Gaya), 20 July (Dainik Jagran). In order to increase tourism a new railway line from Bodhgaya to Daltonganj has been approved by the central government by the Rail Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav. more

"Giant Buddha to rise in northern India"
July 15, 2004 Guardian Unlimited. The Guardian reports that plans for the giant Buddha statue which was originally going to be built in Bodhgaya are now progressing and the project is to be built in Kushinagar in UP... read the original story

Threat to Murder Buddhist Monk
Gaya, 29 June 2004, Hindustan, Patna Edition, p.3. Hindustan reports that Bhikshu Rahul Sankrityayan the Secretary of the Vajrabodhi Society has sent a letter appealing for protection to the District Magistrate. Prior to the this the European Organiser of the society Markus Wagner has sent faxes to the chief Minister of Bihar and the National Human Rights Commission and related officers asking for intervention in the matter of the Vajrabodhi school. In his letter to the District Magistrate Bhikshu Rahul Sankrityayan has accused some people of stealing from the school located in Mocharim village, and incidents of violence and demanding protection money, all with the aim of taking over the school. He also writes that apart from all this these people have threatened my life. Lots of the materials stored in a tent outside the school have been damaged and it is suspected that some have been stolen. Bhikshu Rahul Sankrityayan has appealed for the property and his life to be protected. It is notable that the Vajrabodhi school was providing free education to around 450 children and giving them food and clothing as well educating child monks. But after to theft, extortion rackets, and threats to Bhikshu Rahul Sankrityayan's life the school has been closed for the last six months.

Local Representatives Angry
29 May, Hindustan Times, Patna edition, page 6. Gaya. Local representatives have been angered by not being invited to a meeting chaired by the Tourist Minister on the implementation of the master plan for the development of Bodhgaya. The Head of Bodhgaya Town Panchayat Ramsevak Singh said that this was the first time that local representatives had not been invited to such a meeting. Ramsevak also said that it was a legal requirement to take into account the local representatives before implementing the master plan.

Archeological Survey Of India Enmeshed in Controversy: Restoration of the Mahabodhi Temple not completed after two years
(23 April 2004, Hindustan, Patna Edition, p.3.). Gaya. The Archeological Survey Of India is caught up in a controversy as the work of restoring the Mahabodhi Temple which was to take two years is not now complete after two and a half years says Hindustan. The article says the work started in February 2002 but even now it has not reached the top of the temple tower. During the last six months there has also been no work at all but the metal scaffolding all around the temple is a danger to pilgrims and tourists. Due to the International Buddhist Conference in February the scaffolding was taken down and restoration work stopped. After the conference The Archeological Survey Of India put the scaffolding up again but has not begun work again. A high level meeting under the leadership of State Tourism Minister Ramshankar Tiwari has strongly criticised the The Archeological Survey Of India for its manner of work while assessing the implementation of the master plan for Bodhgaya prepared after its listing as a World Heritage Site. Mr Yadav said that work which was to take two years is not now complete after two and a half years. The restoration work is also of a fairly poor standard and not officials of any expertise have been appointed to oversee it. Mr Yadav suggested a committee of experts should be formed to oversee the work. It is notable that the Archeological Survey Of India Research Laboratory (Lucknow) report says that the state of the Mahabodhi temple is fairly dangerous. In the Investigation Report it says that thousands of Bodhi tree seedlings are sprouting from the Temple structure and metal ties are exposed due to which water is seeping into it during rainy weather. It needs to be treated in time and six lakhs of rupees were allocated for removing the seedlings and the Archeological Survey Of India treated the structure with chemicals but it was not successful. Then the Mahabodhi Temple Management Committee gave 38 lakhs of ruppees and the Archeological Survey Of India decided to do the whole job but now there is a question mark over its manner of working again.


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Texts and Translations © Peter G. Friedlander unless otherwise indicated.