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Temporary court relief for temple squatters

The demolition of 56 shops towards the eastern end of Mahabodhi Mahavihara has been postponed till September 10, providing a breather for the storeowners, charged of encroaching upon the shrine land.

Hearing the civil writ jurisdiction case filed with Patna High Court by Bodhgaya Math Nyas Samiti through its mahanth, Sudarshan Giri, Justice Jayanandan Singh on Wednesday directed Bodhgaya circle officer Janardan Prasad to appear before the court with relevant documents on September 10.

The case was filed challenging the notice served on 56 shopkeepers for allegedly running businesses on the land of samadhi owned by Bodhgaya Math Nyas Samiti on July 31. Bodhgaya circle officer Janardan Prasad served the notice under the Public Land Encroachment Act, 1956. On September 1, another notice was served by Prasad to vacate their respective business outlets within 24 hours.

The administration had indicated that the shops would be razed from Wednesday. Justice Jayanandan Singh observed in his order that no action should be taken till September 10.

The Bodhgaya Nyas Samiti through Mahanth Sudarshan Giri also filed a title suit in a Gaya court on September 2 claiming ownership of the land on which these 56 shops are built. The mahanth also appeared before the circle officer with the documents in support of ownership of Nyas Samiti on the plot. Fifty-eight shops of Mahabodhi shopping complex towards north of the Mahabodhi Mahavihara have already been demolished owing to security concerns after the July 16 serial blasts.