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Nov 13, 2019-Wednesday



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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

Children allege monk called them to bedroom, sexually abused them at Buddhist centre in Bihar’s Bodh Gaya

The children said Bhante Shanghpriya Sujoy used to call them in their bedroom and sexually abuse them. They also said they were beaten up by him and even threatened with dire consequences if they refused to oblige him.

india Updated: Aug 31, 2018 10:48 IST
Anil Kumar Ojha
Anil Kumar Ojha
Hindustan Times, Bodh Gaya
Buddhist monks offer prayers for peace during an inter-faith prayer meeting at Raj Ghat. (Photo used for representative purposes only)
Buddhist monks offer prayers for peace during an inter-faith prayer meeting at Raj Ghat. (Photo used for representative purposes only)(AFP File Photo )

Over a dozen Buddhist child monks from northeastern states were sexually abused at a monastery in Bodh Gaya, the Bihar police said.

The alleged abuse came to light on Wednesday when Arun Bikash Chakma, a village headman from Assam’s Karbi Anglong district, filed a complaint about the sexual exploitation of 15 boys at the monastery. The complaint was filed after a boy managed to escape from the monastery. He returned to his village in Assam and narrated his ordeal.

Head monk Bhante Sanghpriye Sujoy was arrested for the alleged abuse on Wednesday. He was produced before a Gaya court on Thursday and remanded to 14-day judicial custody. A Special Investigation Team was constituted to probe into the abuse on Thursday. A SIT member said the initial probe had revealed that the children were brought for “special training” from northeastern states and were tortured and at times, confined to a room without food and water if they resisted. The child monks were allegedly forced to join a nude dance with the head monk. They were even sent outside Bihar, particularly to Kolkata, where they were also sexually abused. Sujoy had allegedly been running a sex racket.

Police were looking for Bodh Gaya’s Arun Kumar, who had brought the children from Assam. “We are probing the case from all angles. The children, after medical examination and recording of their statements, would be allowed to go to their homes,” Bodh Gaya police superintendent Anil Kumar said.

The parents of the child monks told reporters they were paid Rs 1,000 each for schooling their children at the monastery.

The International Buddhist Council on Thursday at Bodh Gaya condemned the “heinous crime against the children”. IBC secretary Pragya Bhante said only 55 out of 160 monasteries in Bodh Gaya were registered with it or with Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee.