New Delhi, Apr 23 (UNI) Delhi Legislative Assembly Speaker Prem Singh today appealed to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to amend the Mahabodhi Vihar Act, 1949 to safeguard and protect the interests of the Buddhists so that they may run and control the historic Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya.
In separate letters to Ms Gandhi and Dr Singh, Mr Prem Singh brought to their notice that a delegation of the Bodhgaya Mahabodhi Vihar All India Action Committee, under the leadership of Bhadani Anand Mahatherovir met him and submitted a detailed memorandum wherein they appealed for immediate restoration of rights with regard to management of the Mahabodhi Vihar.
''The action committee brought to my notice that the Bodhgaya Temple Act, 1949 surprisingly provides for setting up a committee consisting of nine members, four Hindus, four Buddhists and an ex officio chairman, the district magistrate of Gaya. The act explicitly provides that the chairman himself be a Hindu. Thus, the majority of the committee are required to be Hindus, unsympathetic and even hostile to the wishes and needs of the Buddhists,'' Mr Prem Singh wrote.
''They argued that this act goes against the sentiments and wishes of the millions of Buddhists in India and asked that right should be given to the Buddhists to control the Mahabodhi Vihar,'' the Delhi Assembly Speaker said.
In this context, he argued that while most sacred places for Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews and Sikhs are managed entirely by their own religious leaders, the Buddhists are denied of their rights to manage their prime shrine that is Mahabodhi Vihar.
He requested the Prime Minister and the UPA chairperson to instruct the concerned department of the Centre to suitably amend the Bodhgaya Temple Act, 1949 to safeguard the interests of the Buddhists.
UNI AR SP HT2020