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Neo-Buddhists stage protest against Kalachakra puja

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Gaya, January 6 – The Kalachakra puja, one of the most sacred rituals of the Mahayana sect, scheduled to begin on January 12 at Bodh Gaya and in which Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and the 17th Karmapa Urgyen Trinle Dorje will participate, seems to have run into a controversy with around 20 neo-Buddhists sitting on dharna demanding its cancellation.

The neo-Buddhists are observing indefinte fast near the Mahabodhi Temple, where Lord Buddha had attained enlightment, seeking cancellation of Kalachakra puja saying the temple would be “defiled” as the participants would enter with shoes and chappals, Bhante Mahanam, an agitationist told reporters.

Gaya District Magistrate Brajesh Mehrotra had rushed to the temple to persuade the agitators to end their protest. But they have so far refused to relent, official sources said.

The 17th Karmapa had already reached Bodh Gaya to take part in the rituals. The Dalai Lama, who arrived at Patna today, will proceed for Bodh Gaya tomorrow by road to participate in the nine-day ritual.

Meanwhile, preparation for the Kalachakra puja, organised by the department of religion and culture of Central Tibetan administration based at Dharmshala in Himachal Pradesh, is almost complete and around 80,000 devotees from India and abroad have already landed here.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the puja with intelligence officials and Bihar police keeping a close vigil in view of threat perception to the two spiritual leaders, officials added.

Metal detectors have been put up at 15 entry points to the spot and a large number of flood lights installed.

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