September 30, 2020

Stray worry for Buddha event organisers

Gaya: Beggars and street dogs remain a big worry for the Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee in the run-up to three-day-long Buddha Jayanti celebrations.

The incident of a senior external affairs ministry official getting bitten by a dog near the main shrine a few years back is still fresh for the organisers.

Some dogs even manage to sneak inside the main shrine. According to a press release issued by the state government’s public relations department, several participants at a preparatory meet held in Bodhgaya on Monday raised the twin issues of beggars and street dogs.

Gaya district magistrate (DM) Abhishekh Singh, who chaired the important meet, directed the committee officials to effectively address the twin issues.

A committee official said beggars can be evicted from main areas but the dogs remain a major problem. Followers of the Buddha and animal right activists oppose the move to catch strays and dump them at some animal care home.

Visitors are often seen attending to the strays, feeding them biscuits and other eatables. “They are unlikely to take kindly to forcible removal of the canines, and their sentiments have to be respected,” an official said.

Buddha Jayanti represents the triple coincidence of Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and salvation, taking place on the same full moon day in summer. This year it falls on April 30. The celebrations will begin on April 29 and continue till May 1. Whereas ordinary Buddha followers will be accommodated in the tent city to come up near Do Muhan, separate arrangements will be made to accommodate an estimated 7,000 monks in Kalchakra Maidan to the northwest of Buddha’s seat of enlightenment.

Governor Satpal Malik will be the chief guest of the main event to be held near the shrine’s sanctum sanctorum on April 30. The district magistrate also directed officials concerned to ensure uninterrupted water and power supply during the three-day event. BTMC will also arrange free e-rickshaws for old and differently-abled devotees. Altogether, eight e-rickshaws will be arranged to ferry devotees in the restricted zone where entry of motorised vehicles stands banned. Two air-conditioned buses will ply between Gaya railway station and Bodhgaya.

The civil surgeon has been directed to set up special health camps for the event participants.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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