| Sri Lankan artistes perform on the streets of Bodhgaya with sacred relics of Sakyamuni Buddha and his disciples on Monday. The procession was part of an annual public exposition of the relics. The performance was a precursor to the three-day Bodh Mahotsava starting Tuesday. Picture by Suman |
Security has been tightened in Gaya and Bodhgaya for the three-day Bodh Mahotsava.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar will inaugurate the festival on Tuesday at Kalchakra ground, around 200m northwest of World Heritage Mahabodhi Mahavihara.
Around 1,100 police personnel, 200 assistant sub-inspectors, one company each of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Special Task Force (STF) jawans, besides a dog squad, have been pressed into service to ensure foolproof security for the chief minister and other visitors.
The security will prevail during the three-day fest. Personnel have been called from adjoining districts such as Jehanabad and Nalanda.
Gaya senior superintendent of police (SSP) Nishant Kumar Tiwari said a three-layer security arrangement has been made for the Mahotsava. Security personnel will also be deputed in plain clothes.
The areas around Mahabodhi Mahavihara and Kalchakra ground have been kept under electronic surveillance.
Sleuths of the special branch, central intelligence and the chief minister’s security on Monday sealed the Kalchakra Maidan and conducted a thorough check of the ground.
Entry of four- and three-wheelers has been barred during the Mahotsava. Vehicles arriving in Bodhgaya from the Domuha-end will be allowed entry up to node-I, while vehicles from the riverside-end will be parked at an empty plot near Rajapur.
On Monday, an unnamed FIR has been lodged with the Bodhgaya police station in connection with distribution of pamphlets by Shopkeepers’ Association, Bodhgaya, the SSP said.
Through the pamphlets, the association has threatened to protest during the Mahotsava the demolition of 58 shops in the Mahabodhi shopping complex on the red pedestal towards north of the Mahavihara after the July 7 serial blasts in Bodhgaya.
The shopkeepers have appealed to switch off the lights of the business establishments and work under candlelight on February 4.
The association has also demanded to rename Bodh Mahotsava as Bodhgaya Mahotsava on the lines of Rajgir Mahotsava and Vaishali Mahotsava being organised within the state.