Exhibition of Buddha ‘relics’: HC issues notice to MP govt

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Jabalpur | Updated: Oct 21, 2015 13:15 IST

People throng to see the Buddha relics in Bhopal. (HT file)

People throng to see the Buddha relics in Bhopal. (HT file)

The Madhya Pradesh high court on Tuesday served a notice to the state government on a PIL seeking a probe into some individuals exhibiting the ‘relics’ of Gautam Buddha without following the process laid down by the Centre.

Vishwa Bouddha Sangh’s state president RK Mahale and national secretary Vijay Bouddha had filed the public interest litigation.

Chandrabodhi Patil, national president of Buddhist Society of India Bhopal, Nitin Gajbhiye, secretary, and R Gagan Malik, vice president of Punyashree Ahilyabai Holkar Bahu Uddeshiya Shikshan Santhan, directly communicated with the Sri Lanka’s archaeology department to bring the ‘relics’ to India, the PIL said.

The respondents had held an exhibition in Bhopal on October 19.

One of the petitioners, Vijay Bouddha, editor of Buddhist Times, said the respondents cannot bypass the authority of Union government and procure directly the ‘relics’ from the neighbouring country.

A letter dated August 14, 2015 from the Sri Lanka’s archeological department clearly indicated that the ‘relics’ those found near Neelagiri Seya, largest Buddhist stupa in eastern province of Sri Lanka, is believed to be of Buddha.

The petitioner contended when the department stated that the relics are “believed” to be that of Buddha, it appears the respondents are misleading the people by exhibiting ‘relics’ which is yet to be proved.

The respondents even collected money from the people in the name of such ‘relics’ and these need to be probed thoroughly, the petitioner said.

When contacted, government counsel Swapnil Ganguli confirmed that the court had sought response from the government in this matter.

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