Construction of crematorium initiated

Kathmandu, October 26:

Home Minister Krishna Sitaula today initiated the construction of Pravajit Dip, a crematorium for Buddhist monks and nuns, at Swayambhu, even as a group demanded that the crematorium not be constructed there.

“At a time when we are trying to build a new Nepal through political discussion and reconciliation, arrogance of some people is posing as the main hindrance to the entire process,” he said. “We should learn to respect religions and cultures of other communities,” he said.

Donation amounting to Rs 450,000 was collected on the spot when former Minister for Culture Bal Bahadur KC said he would donate Rs 5,555 for the religious purpose. KC had laid the foundation stone for the construction of the site about six years ago, but construction was delayed due to lack of funds. The Department of Archaeology had allocated Rs 200,000 for the construction of the crematorium.

Chairman of Pravajit Dip Construction Committee, Monk Gyanpurnik, called on al people to help with the construction of the crematorium at the holy place. “All major Buddhist monks and nuns, including Nepal’s first Therabadi Bhikshu Mahapragya, Bhikshu Dhammalok, Sanghanayaka Bhikshu Subodhananda, Bhikshu Amritananda, Bhikshu Sudarshana and the eldest nun Guruma Ratna Manjari were cremated in the sacred place,” he said.

However, some new residents of the area, who have come to construct new buildings by encroaching the sides of a small river flowing nearby, demanded that crematorium not be constructed there. They have also erected a concrete statue of Buddha on the site to hamper the project. “The crematorium should be constructed some 200m down,” said Champa Lama, a resident.

But Mahendra Buddhacharya, general-secretary of the Swayambhu Management Committee, said: “Newcomers have encroached upon the area. They are trying to prevent the old tradition of cremating monks and nuns in the area.”