Monks protest against barricading sacred Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya

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Bodhgaya, Oct 21 : Monks in Bodh Gaya have staged a demonstration against barricading of the sacred Bodhi tree by the Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC).

Monks alleged that a scientist of Forest Research Institute (FRI) had submitted to BTMC a report stating that offering of prayers by the monks just below the sacred tree would stop intake of oxygen to its roots, drying down it in due course of time.

They marched down towards the Bodhgaya management office, raising slogans for removal of the barricades around the sacred tree.

"The agitation is due to the report that has been submitted to the Bodh Gaya Temple committee by one of the expert stating that people sitting below the sacred tree and offering prayers stops oxygen intake to the roots of the tree. This is a very condemnable conspiracy," said Bhane Pragyadeep, a monk.

"We are demonstrating in front of the temple committee office for our constitutional right. One cannot take our religious rights from us. The temple management committee of Bihar is responsible to take care of the cleanliness of the area around tree committee, but they cannot decide that where we will offer prayers," said Bhante Priyepal, another monk.

Scientists from the Forest Research Institute after being approached by authorities at the Mahabodhi Temple treated the diseased portions of the Bodhi tree last year.

With over 2,000-year-old legacy attached to the Bodhi tree, the devotees would chop off its branches or take twigs for keepsake, causing a grave threat to its existence. But the practice has been put under check.

FRI scientists earlier said that tree should be inspected and analyzed after wvery six months.

Lord Buddha is known to have attained Mahanirvana (salvation) under the Bodhi tree where the temple stands now.

Acknowledged as a world heritage monument in 2002, the Bodh Gaya Temple has since been drawing an increasing number of foreign tourists.

ANI

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