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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Rajapaksa offers prayers at Mahabodhi temple amid protests

PTI  Bodh Gaya, February 08, 2013
First Published: 18:37 IST(8/2/2013) | Last Updated: 18:39 IST(8/2/2013)

Sri Lankan President MahindhaRajapaksa and his spouse Shiranthi on Friday offered prayers at the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya amidst protests by the CPI(M-L) Liberation cadres for alleged atrocities against Sri Lankan Tamils, official sources said.

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Protesters started shouting slogans as Rajapaksa's motorcade entered the Mahabodhi temple, with security forces dispersing them and detaining two for questioning, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Law and Order, Rakesh Kumar Dube said.

Another group of protesters comprising the CPI(M-L) Liberation and All India Students Association shouted slogans outside the Hotel Royal Residency where Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar hosted lunch for the visiting dignitaries, the sources said.

Asked for his reaction on the protests, the Sri Lankan President told reporters, "This is a religious place...we should not talk politics here. We will discuss it at Colombo ...please come over."

Rajapaksa, his spouse and the 70-member delegation offered prayers at the Mahabodhi temple and meditated under a peepal tree where Lord Buddha had attained enlightenment before visiting the Sri Lankan Buddha Vihar in Bodh Gaya town amidst tight security, sources said.

The Sri Lankan President later left for Tirumala in Tamil Nadu by a special aircraft and was seen off at the airport by the chief minister.

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