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Hundreds of Sri Lankan monks protest bomb attack in India

2013 Jul 11

Hundreds of Buddhist monks protested before the Indian High Commission here on Wednesday after officials refused to accept a petition that they were attempting to hand over regarding the bomb blasts in India.

About 600 members of the controversial extremist Buddhist organizations Ravana Balaya and Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) marched to the High Commission but were told that no official would come to accept their petition as the bomb blasts were considered an internal matter by the Indian government.

The participating priests then stuck the petition on the wall of the High Commission and dispersed.

"The Indian government has an obligation to protect a World Heritage site such as the Bodhgaya temple. They should not disregard our concerns this way," a disgruntled BBS head Galagodaatthe Gnanasara Thero told media.

Buddhist monks living in Sri Lanka from Vietnam and Bangladesh also participated in the protest.

Five people including two Buddhist monks were injured in the attacks on Sunday on the Indian Buddhist temple in the eastern state of Bihar.

Following an advisory by the Indian government, security of all states with Buddhist population and sites has been increased.

Chennai City police have also beefed up security for all Sri Lankan institutions in Chennai, deploying over 5,000 police personnel across the city.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa had expressed his "shock" over the attack and also directed the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in India to look into the incident.

The temple in Bodhgaya is the single most important place of worship for Buddhists as it is believed that Lord Buddha attained enlightenment at that location.

Millions of pilgrims flock to the temple and it is also revered by Sri Lanka, which has a 75 percent Buddhist population.

The Sri Lankan High Commission has advised pilgrims to avoid visiting the temple for the next week.

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