Buddhist monks protest Bihar advertisement

February 16th, 2008 - 9:58 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Bodh Gaya

Patna, Feb 16 (IANS) Hundreds of Buddhist monks in Bodh Gaya have protested a Bihar government advertisement showing photographs of President Pratibha Patil and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar placed above a picture of the Buddha. They staged a protest in Bodh Gaya, about 110 km from here, where Gautam Buddha attained his enlightenment. They also demanded action against officials responsible for “hurting” their sentiments.

“The government advertisement placed Lord Buddha’s picture at the bottom while those of the president and the chief minister at the top. It is an insult to Buddhism in the land of the Buddha,” Bhadante Anand, president of the All India Mahabodhi Mahavihar Liberation Action Committee, told IANS by telephone Saturday.

Anand said the government had placed an advertisement in newspapers here last month with pictures of dancing girls above the picture of the Buddha.

The monks in their deep saffron robes protested for hours before President Patil visited the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya Friday afternoon.

It was under the Bodhi tree behind the temple that the Buddha attained enlightenment about 2,550 years ago.

The Mahabodhi Temple was declared a World Heritage Site in 2002 by the Unesco.

The president Friday began her two-day visit to Bihar. It is her first visit to the state since assuming office in July 2007. She also visited Friday the remains of the historic Nalanda University.

She inaugurated a cultural function, Tarang, at the Magadh University in Bodh Gaya Friday before returning to Patna in the evening.

She visited Vaishaligarh, Shanti Stupa and other historic sites in Vaishali district Saturday morning. She also visited the Sikh holy shrine of Takht Saheb in Patna.

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