Monk Sheelratan calls Kharge’s remarks “baseless and wrong” regarding PM Modi’s “faith” in Buddhism

New Delhi: Monk Sheelratan of the International Buddhist Research Institute in the Uttar Pradesh government’s Culture Department, called the remarks made by Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge as “baseless and wrong” regarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “faith” in Buddhism. “The statement given by the Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge is baseless and wrong. Since PM Modi’s government came to power, the work that has been done for Buddhism in the country has not been done by any government to date. For the first time after the independence of the country, due to the work of PM Modi, all our Buddhist centres in UP were given international airports. People who used to come from foreign countries now land directly in our Kushinagar. PM Modi’s and CM Yogi’s govts are continuously working for the welfare of Buddhism,” Monk Sheelratan said.

Earlier in the day, Bharatiya Baudh Sangh president Bhante Sanghpriya Rahul condemned the remarks made by Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge on Prime Minister Narendra Modi allegedly questioning his “faith” in Buddhism. “Mallikarjun Kharge’s remark is condemnable. For the first time in 2014, PM Modi celebrated the birthday of Lord Buddha at Talkatora Stadium, which was the first time after independence that a Prime Minister celebrated Lord Buddha’s birthday. When he was Gujarat CM, he had a statue of Buddha inside the Assembly and also at CM’s residence,” Bhante Sanghpriya Rahul said.

“I want to ask Mallikarjun Kharge when Manmohan Singh’s government was in power, why did you not pay attention to Buddha, why did you not celebrate Buddha?” he added. The Congress chief stirred a fresh row with remarks on Buddhism and PM Modi during an interview with News 24 earlier in the day.

In the interview, Kharge, who is a follower of Buddhism, delved into the inauguration ceremony of Buddha Vihar in Karnataka’s Gulbarga in 2009, which was established by the Siddharth Vihar Trust of which he is the founder-chairman. “What did you do, whom did you invite for the Pran Pratishtha? Did you give invitations to the leaders of every opposition party? You are doing everything as per your wish, and yet that temple is not even one-third complete. Now there has been some improvement as far as the construction is concerned. Who should have inaugurated it? As per the Hindu customs, who should have carried out the Pran Pratishtha?” Kharge questioned PM Modi for doing Pran Prathistha of Ram Temple.

“For example, I established Buddha Vihar in Gulbarga, then who was called for it? Buddha is considered the 9th incarnation of Lord Vishnu but they (BJP) don’t come near Buddha. You know in Uttarakhand it has been imposed that if someone wants to adopt Buddhism they should approach the District Magistrate. That is a religion of this country, that was established in this country and has been accepted all over the world, but you (PM Modi) do not believe in it. Now they are attacking us. But what did I do at that time, I witnessed it from a distance while the ‘pratishtha’ was done by Dalai Lama and then president of India Prathibha Patil was also present there,” he added. (ANI)

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