Monks claim Ram Janmabhoomi a Buddhist site; Stage sit-in, fast

Ayodhya: Buddhist monks staged a sit-in and fast in Ayodhya on Tuesday, claiming that the Ram Janmabhoomi premises was a Buddhist site and demanded that the excavation of the place should be done by the UNESCO.

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At the protest outside the office of the Ayodhya district magistrate, the Buddhist monks demanded that those items found during the levelling of the land of the Ram Janmabhoomi site must be made public.

A shivalinga, seven black touchstone pillars, six red sandstone pillars, a “flower pinnacle”, and four broken idols of gods and goddesses were found in May during the levelling of the site for a Ram temple, the trust charged with its construction had said.

The Buddhist monks demanded that the excavation of the site must be done by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), claiming that the items recovered belong to Buddhist culture.

They demanded that the construction work of the Ram temple must be stopped immediately.

The followers of Buddhism consider Ayodhya as the ancient city of Saket that was the centre of Buddhism in ancient times.

“We have sent our memorandums to the President, chief justice of India and also to other government agencies through the Ayodhya administration,” a Azad Baudh Dharm Sena member said.

“If the construction of the Ram temple is not stopped within a month and the premises not assigned to the UNESCO for excavation, then we will again start our movement,” he said.

“We have received the memorandum of Buddhist leaders and we will be sending it to the persons addressed,” Faizabad City Magistrate S P Singh said. “On our assurances, the Buddhist community has called off its sit-in and fast.”