Officials show old pictures to prove no branch of the holy tree has been freshly cut.
PATNA: The controversy surrounding the reported cutting of a branch of the sacred Mahabodhi tree at Bodhgaya has been put to rest for the moment following a spot inspection by a high level team of the state administration on Friday.
Bihar home secretary Afzal Amanullah, who led the team to Bodhgaya, told DNA, “There is not an iota of truth in reports about fresh cutting of a branch of the Mahabodhi tree.”
According to him, it appeared to be mischief by some vested interests in the Mahabodhi temple trust committee who spread the rumour to defame the temple management and the state administration. Reports that a branch of the Mahabodhi tree has been cut off, had created a flutter in the state administration on Thursday.
The matter had assumed significance as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was scheduled to meet the Sri Lankan President on Thursday.
Although the Gaya District administration had dismissed the report about damage to Mahabodhi tree as mere rumour on Thursday itself, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar directed the home secretary to make a spot enquiry and submit a report.
The director of state agriculture research institute, AK Singh, who accompanied the home secretary, examined the controversial twig with the help of a magnifying lens. He did not find any fresh cutting or scars in any portion of the holy Pipal tree which is believed to be 110 years old.
In a press conference after the inspection, the home secretary ruled out any damage to the Mahabodhi tree. However, in view of the religious sentiments of Budhists across the world, the state administration had decided to send the sample of the controversial twig for scientific test.
The sample collected by Singh would be sent to the Forest Research Institute at Dehradun for the carbon dating test to ascertain the actual date of pruning of that particular stem of the tree, informed Amanullah. Meanwhile, security had been tightened in the Mahabodhi temple complex.