Permission was denied for setting up a Buddhist pandal during the Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama held annually in Misrikh tehsil of Sitapur.
Permission was denied for setting up a Buddhist pandal during the Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama held annually in Misrikh tehsil of Sitapur.

Four Decades Tradition Disrupted: Administration Denies Permission for Buddhist Pandal in UP's Misrikh Fair

Critics, including Bhante Karunanad, the General Secretary of All India Buddhist Association, have condemned the government and district administration for what they perceive as biased actions. He believes that the government aims to stifle the propagation of Buddhist and Ambedkarite ideals, which advocate for equality and harmony and oppose casteist and Manuwadi practices.

Lucknow- Buddhist monks in Uttar Pradesh have been diligently organizing programs across various locations to propagate Buddhism. However, recent events suggest a troubling trend as allegations arise of efforts to hinder such initiatives. Notably, permission was denied for setting up a Buddhist pandal during the Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama held annually in Misrikh tehsil of Sitapur. This pandal has been a fixture at the fair for the past four decades, and the refusal has sparked discontent among Buddhist monks.

Critics, including Bhante Karunanad, the General Secretary of All India Buddhist Association, have condemned the government and district administration for what they perceive as biased actions. Bhante Karunanad accuses the government of disrespecting Buddhists. Despite the outcry, Misrikh SDM declined to comment on the matter.

It's worth noting that Misrikh tehsil in Sitapur district is home to Naimisharanya, a renowned Hindu pilgrimage site located approximately 90 km from Lucknow. Known as the land of Maharishi Dadhichi, the area hosts the annual 84 Kosi Parikrama and Panch Kosiya Parikrama, accompanied by the Holi fair.

The 84 Kosi Parikrama comprises 11 stages and concludes on Holika Dahan following the Panch Kosiya Parikrama of Mishrikh via Sitapur and Hardoi. Despite the spiritual significance of these events, tensions persist over the denial of permissions, highlighting broader religious and administrative concerns in the region.

The Buddisht pandal had been a fixture at the fair for the past four decades, and the refusal has sparked discontent among Buddhist monks.
The Buddisht pandal had been a fixture at the fair for the past four decades, and the refusal has sparked discontent among Buddhist monks.

The fair attracts people from all corners of the state, featuring a diverse array of shops and recreational activities. Approximately 500 stalls are erected by vendors hailing from neighboring districts such as Allahabad, Ayodhya, Gonda, Meerut, Bahraich, and Banaras.

These stalls offer a wide range of goods including bangles, carpets, toys, iron items, and accessories for girls. Additionally, visitors can enjoy various types of swings, magic games, and entertainment programs. Amidst the festivities, religious sentiments are also nurtured as different saint communities erect pandals to propagate their beliefs.

Furthermore, Misrikh boasts a historic Buddhist monastery, established many years ago. Each year, this monastery becomes a focal point for Buddhist monks and their followers who gather during the event. Here, they actively promote the teachings of Mahatma Buddha and Ambedkar, fostering spiritual growth and cultural exchange among attendees.

Denial of permission stirs controversy

The denial of permission for setting up a Buddhist pandal at the Misrikh event has stirred controversy this year. Despite efforts by Bhante Karunananda, the General Secretary of All India Buddhist Association, who wrote to the DM and SP requesting permission, the district administration and police refused to grant permission.

Speaking to The Mooknayak, Bhante expressed his frustration, stating that despite his prior attempts to secure permission, the authorities did not relent.

According to Bhante, this action reflects a deliberate attempt to undermine Buddhism and suppress its followers. He believes that the government aims to stifle the propagation of Buddhist and Ambedkarite ideals, which advocate for equality and harmony and oppose casteist and Manuwadi practices. In response, Bhante has filed an appeal in the High Court, asserting their right to express their faith freely.

The Mooknayak also reached out to the SDM of Misrikh for clarification. The SDM confirmed the decision to deny permission for the Buddhist monks to set up pandals. However, when questioned about allowing pandals of other religions, the SDM avoided providing a clear response, raising concerns about potential bias in the administration's actions.

Buddhist event disrupted in Kanpur

The Dalit community faced a harrowing ordeal in December 2023 when a Buddhist Katha event they were hosting in Pahewa village, under the jurisdiction of Sadh police station in Kanpur, came under attack. The incident escalated to the extent of rapid gunfire, leaving the organizers brutally beaten. Furthermore, the statue of Saint Ravidas was desecrated, and chairs in the pandal were destroyed.

Allegations surfaced that members of the upper caste had issued threats to the Dalit community, warning them of dire consequences, if they proceeded with the Buddhist Katha. In response to the violence, the police intervened and filed a case against the perpetrators. To ensure safety, the village was placed under heavy security, with the deployment of PAC and a significant police presence. Subsequently, four individuals were detained by the authorities in connection with the incident.

-Translated by Geetha Sunil Pillai

Permission was denied for setting up a Buddhist pandal during the Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama held annually in Misrikh tehsil of Sitapur.
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