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Mahabodhi tree not vandalised: Bihar govt
July 21, 2006 21:17 IST
The Mahabodhi tree in Gaya under which the Buddha attained enlightment has not been vandalised, Bihar Home Secretary Afzal Amanullah and Rajendra Agriculture University scientist A Singh said on Friday.
The tree was examined by Singh in the presence of the chief priest of the Mahabodhi temple and several Buddhist monks from Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Japan and India.
TV channels had on Thursday reported that a branch of the sacred tree was recently lopped off and sold to foreign pilgrims.
The Bodh Gaya Temple management committee's secretary, Kalicharan Singh Yadav, had said on Thursday the branch was cut 30 years ago on the recommendation of agricultural scientists and not recently.
Singh, after examining the tree, confirmed before the media that the cut was "very old in origin".
Amanullah arrived in Bodh Gaya with Additional Director General of Police (Special Branch) D N Gautam, Patna Zonal Inspector General of Police Rajvardhan Sharma and Singh.
He told PTI that Singh also collected samples from the tree.
The management committee of the Mahabodhi Temple, one of the most sacred Buddhist shrines, showed colour photographs of the tree taken in 2001, 2004 and March 2006 that confirmed a particular branch had been cut earlier and not recently, as claimed by the TV channels.