Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Protest against demolition of Burmese monastery buildings in Bodh Gaya

Tuesday, 09 August 2011 21:31 Zwe Khant

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Local residents and monks have launched a protest against the demolition of a Burmese monastery in Bodh Gaya, India, for not having a building permit.

Protesters gathered at the Bodh Gaya post office and marched to the Maha Aungmye Monastery, where the authorities have already partially demolished some buildings.

As the location of the Buddha's enlightenment,
Bodh Gaya is home to Buddhist temples from
around the world. Photo: Mizzima
A Burmese monk said about 200 people including 15 monks from Magadh University, Burmese monks, about 10 Tibetan monks and Indian residents joined the protest.

The municipal department has demolished portions of the top floors and marked other buildings in Maha Aungmye Monastery for destruction.

Previously, permits for building in Bodh Gaya were handled by the Gaya Regional Development Authority until it was handed over to a five-man municipal body. According to the Bodh Gaya city master plan adopted in 2006, the authority stopped issuing building permits for Buddhist religious buildings and no building was allowed to be built around Bodh Gaya more than 30-feet high.

“They demolished the side of a portico, but didn’t demolish the eastern side where the pagoda exists. They demolished two hand railings in the staircase on that side, not too much. Then they told the monastery to bring a “Stay Order” from the Bihar State High Court along with a request letter,” Abbot Zawana of Maha Aungmye Monastery told Mizzima.

The request letter for staying the demolition must be sent to the local authority by August 11.

Maha Aungmye Monastery was built in 2001, and it applied for a permit from the government department in 2006 but it  has not received a reply, sources said. It reapplied for a permit in 2008 but still has not received a permit.

“International Buddhist organizations in Bodh Gaya joined us in the protest. All monasteries here closed yesterday in protest of the demolition and the local people joined us,” the abbot said.

The monastery has informed the state government minister about the incident and will send letters to other departments concerned, state legislatures and commissioners. The Burmese embassy in India was also notified.

There are more than 200 buildings without permits in Bodh Gaya, which were built with the understanding of local authorities, sources said.

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