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Bodhi tree row: Temple priest resigns
Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | December 17, 2007 17:07 IST
Chief priest of Mahabodhi Temple of Bodh Gaya Bhadant Bhodipal has resigned, fearing prosecution on criminal charges in a case related to the illegal felling of a branch of the sacred Bodhi tree.
His resignation was accepted by Gaya district magistrate, Jitendra Srivastava, who is also the ex-officio chairman of the Mahabodhi Temple Management Committee (BMTC), official sources told rediff.com on Monday.
Bhadant Bhodipal is one of three prime accused in the case. It was after his indictment by the inquiry report submitted to the court by the Magadh division commissioner K P Ramiah, the chief judicial magistrate took cognizance against him in connection with the illegal felling of a branch of the sacred Bodhi tree.
Sources close to Bhadant Bhodipal said he resigned in view of the increasing pressure on him following the court took cognizance against him.
"He resigned fearing prosecution on criminal charges by the court," a monk close to him said.
The court took cognisance under Sections 406,426,120B and 34 of IPC and section 3 of the Prevention of Damage of Public Property Act ,1984, against him and two others.
Bhadant Anand, president of the Akhil Bharatiya Bhikkhu Mahasangh (All India Monks Association), said three of them should be arrested immediately after the trio was found guilty in the case.
"It is not a joke. Their act hurt millions of Buddhists worldwide. They should be punished. The state government should arrest them, if not the Centre," Bhante Anand said.