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Buddhists miffed as prayers axed at Kolkata monastery for polling

IANS | Last Updated: Monday, May 12, 2014 - 23:27

Kolkata: Forced to cancel their daily prayer Monday for the first time in 117 years after a Kolkata monastery was turned into a polling booth, the Bengal Buddhist Association is mulling legal recourse as well as seeking West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee`s intervention.

The Bauddha Dharmankur Sabha or the Bengal Buddhist Association claimed despite their repeated pleas, the Election Commission (EC) did not delist a school inside the monastery as a polling booth.
"This is the first time in 117 years that we had to cancel our morning and evening prayers as our monastery had to house a polling booth. We had repeatedly requested state chief electoral officer Sunil Gupta to delist it but it did not happen despite his assurances," general secretary Hemendu Bikash Chowdhury told IANS.

Chowdhary said the Association was mulling approaching the Calcutta High Court to ensure the monastery is not used as polling booth again, besides seeking Banerjee`s help.
"There is definite law restraining any religious place or institution from being used for the purpose of elections. So we are planning to seek the high court`s intervention so that such a situation does not arise in the future," he said.

"We will also personally visit the chief minister in this regard after the results of the polls are declared, and write to the chief election commissioner so that we are saved from any such trouble in the future," added Chowdhury.

The Dharmankur Sabha was founded in 1892 by Kripasaran Mahasthavir, for the regeneration and revival of Buddhism in India and has branches in several parts of the country.

First Published: Monday, May 12, 2014 - 23:27
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