Buddhist banyan tree targeted by extremists ~ Bits!

This entry is from past … 2 years approx. back!

Fanaticism has not spared a centuries old banyan tree standing in Sector E-7 of Islamabad. The tree is a sacred relic for Buddhists who believe that one of their great monks briefly stayed and worshiped in its shade and blessed it with long-lasting life.

Buddhists have already faced the shock of the destruction of their holy artefacts in Bamiyan in Afghanistan by the Taliban in 2001. Religious extremists from a nearby seminary are accused of burning and trying to chop this old tree, though the administration of the seminary denies this.

Ghazi Abdul Rasheed, in-charge of the Jamia Faridia, said that he was not bothered by the tree. He said that he had noticed several times that some people tried to burn it and had chopped most of its branches. “We thought that those people were from the Capital Development Authority,” he said. CDA officials, however, said that they never tried to burn or cut the Buddhists’ holy tree. Under civic rules, no one except the CDA can cut down trees in the federal capital.

The head of the local Buddhist community, Raja Tridev Roy, has repeatedly called for the protection of the tree. He was not available to comment on the latest situation. An official of the Ministry of Sports, Youth Affairs, Culture and Minorities, Hameed Ullah, said the ministry and the CDA had decided to preserve the tree. However, no action has ever been taken against those accused of trying to destroy it.

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