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Home > News > Report

Branch of bodhi tree was cut 3 years ago: Report

Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | October 25, 2007 22:56 IST

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It is official now. A branch of the sacred bodhi tree at the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya was cut. This sensational disclosure was made on Thursday by Dehradun-based Forest Research Institute in its detailed report.

In the report submitted to the Bihar government, the institute said the branch of the sacred bodhi tree was cut three years ago.

"The report admitted that the branch was cut three years ago and not last year as alleged by a Buddhist monk in Bodh Gaya," Bihar Home Secretary Afzal Amanullah told on Thursday.

In June this year, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had ordered a test to be conducted by Forest Research Institute experts to determine whether the branch of the bodhi tree, under which Lord Buddha was believed to have attained enlightenment 2,550 years ago, was cut last year or not.

The order was given after a criminal case was filed by a monk Arup Brahmachari against the top officials of the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee, including Gaya District Magistrate, in the court of the chief judicial magistrate.

In July 2005, it was widely reported that unidentified people cut off a branch of the Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya. But the state government denied the claim then. However, under pressure following worldwide protests, the state government got samples collected from the tree and sent it to a Pune-based forest laboratory to ascertain the truth. However, 15 months since then, the laboratory report is yet to be made public.

Meanwhile, Amanullah said a Memorandum of Understanding had been signed on Thursday between the Forest Research Institute and the state government for upkeep and maintenance of the sacred bodhi tree.

"Now the sacred bodhi tree will be looked after by the Forest Research Institute," he said, adding that the state government had also given Rs 7 lakh to Forest Research Institute for maintaining the sacred bodhi tree.

The government also plans to install surveillance cameras at strategic points to keep vigil on the tree and the temple.