Bihar monk campaigning against corruption assaulted

July 25th, 2008 - 7:57 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bodh Gaya

Patna, July 25 (IANS) A Hindu monk, who has been spearheading a campaign against corruption in the Bodh Gaya temple in Bihar and exposing the mushrooming of fake NGOs in this holy town, Friday said he was assaulted here by a person who was allegedly involved in several criminal cases. Arup Brahmachari, in his 30s, was threatened and assaulted by Vijay Paswan, who was later arrested by the police.

Brahmachari had filed a criminal complaint against top officials of the Bodh Gaya temple last year for allegedly cutting a branch of the sacred Bodhi tree.

“Paswan first abused me, threatened me and then beat me in front of the Thailand monastery Thursday night when I was with a local administration official, who was witness to the incident,” Brahmachari said.

He lodged a police complaint and demanded stern action against Paswan. “It is for the police to investigate and expose the real face behind him,” he said.

He said Paswan used his waist belt to beat him and threatened to kill him if he did not stop his activities in Bodh Gaya.

Brahmachari told IANS on phone that it was the third time he was attacked in Bodh Gaya.

“My life is under threat and my security issue must be taken seriously. Paswan is a hard core criminal. A big conspiracy is on to kill me in Bodh Gaya since 2006 because I am exposing issues like the wrong deeds of NGOs and a branch being cut off from the Bodhi tree,” he said.

“I will continue to fight corruption at Bodh Gaya,” he said.

“They want to eliminate me to stop my fight against corruption at the Bodh Gaya temple,” he added.

Brahmachari had written to the president, the prime minister and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), drawing attention to the “corruption” at Bodh Gaya, considered sacred to millions the world over.

The Bodhi tree behind the Mahabodhi temple, said to have grown from the original banyan tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment about 2,550 years ago, sprouted new leaves after four years last year.

An official of the Mahabodhi temple, which the UN has declared a World Heritage site, said the Bodhi tree is the sixth regeneration of the original banyan tree.

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