Gaya, Aug 1 : Buddhist monks of the world famous Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya have demanded removal of Hindus from the management committee of the shrine.
Buddhist monk Badya Satyanaraya said: “Our fight is to change the entire Act (Bodh Gaya Temple Act). We demand that Hindus should not be made the members of the temple committee. We want that all the members should be from the Buddhist community."
The Act makes it compulsory for the panel to have a chairperson and eight members nominated by the Bihar government for three years. Four of these members are from the Buddhist community and other four are Hindus.
This Act also empowers the local administrator or the Gaya district collector to become the ex-officio chairperson, wielding authority over administrative and financial matters of the temple.
Earlier, if the collector was not a Hindu, the government had to nominate a Hindu as the chairperson. But the Bihar government had amended only the clause relating to the chairman recently, said another monk, Badan Pragyashil Theru.
He said that this amendment was not enough to satisfy the demands of the monks and the Buddhist community.
“The Act 1949 had earlier emphasised that the Chairman of the Temple Administrative Committee had to be a Hindu individual. But this was unconstitutional. This has only been amended by the provincial legislative assembly now.
":However, the Bodh Gaya Temple Act has not been amended. Had it be amended, and then even the Secretary for this Committee also must be a Buddhist. However, nothing has been mentioned about the Buddhists,” said Badan Pragyashil Theru .
Bodh Gaya is the place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. On July 7, it was rocked by a series of explosions in which two persons were injured.
Over the past few weeks, various Buddhist groups have staged rallies to voice their protest against the serial blasts at the sacred Mahabodhi shrine.
These explosions were descried as an act of vengeance by an unnamed 'terror' outfit. In 2002 the UNESCO had listed the Mahabodhi temple as a world heritage site.