§ MR. BOLAND (Kerry, S.)
To ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to the projected removal of certain pillars from the abbey to the temple of Bodh Gaza, in Behar, in defiance of the wishes of the Mahmout, his brethren, and adherents throughout India, ostensibly in the interests of the preservation of ancient monuments; and whether he is aware that systematic efforts have been made by the temporal authorities of the Gaza district to harass the Mahmout, by 1231 forcing him to obey petty summonses to Government courts, thus attempting to deprive him of the ancient exemption of his order and its abbots; and whether he will issue an order confirming the Mahmout in these ancient exemptions, and in all reasonable rights and privileges, as proprietor or ecclesiastical trustee of all the abbey lands.
(Answered by Mr. Secretary Morley.) I have not had my attention called to the matter referred to in the Question. If the Mahant is dissatisfied with the action of the Government of India, it is open to him to appeal to the Secretary of State in Council in the usual manner; but I apprehend that it rests with the civil courts to define the exact position of the Mahant in respect of the Bodh Gaza temple and its appurtenances.